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' ' 








CopyriKlkt, 1879, by 

G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers. 


Harvard Oolleg-e Library 
July 1, 1914. 
Bequest of 
G^eorfirina Lowell Putnam 

U S 6 ;l r4/ /f^ 



Samuel Stoddsb, Trow 

Stebsottfbb, Priktiko akd Book Binding Co. 

90 Ann Stbext, N. Y. N. T. 



J^TuUsoever is heginning that is done "by human shiU, 
Every daring emanation of the mind's imperfect toiU; 
Every Jirst impulse of passion, gush of love or tvnnge of hate; 
Every launch upon the waters, wide horizoned by our fate; 
Every venture in the chances of lifers sad, aye, desperate game; 
Whatsoever be our object, wJiatsoever be our aim-^ 

' Tis well we cannot see 

What the end wiU be. 



Introduction — Women of the South — Startlinp 
JProposition — If^rst Appearance on any Stage 
— Petticoat Government — DuU, hut necessary 
Details — Initiation — " Great Oaks from little 
Acorns grow^^ — Partnership with Jim — A 
First Venture — "^ Rose by any other name,^ 
Ac, — Snubbed — JETis Mammy^s Soup — Dis- 
solved Partnership with Jim — Uxplanations 
— Houtine — Mr, Jones* Views — ^^ Sufficient for 
the Day,^^ dbc, — Introduction of Hero — Intro- 
duction of Hero^ The Whiskey Barrel — 
The Hero Captured — Jones'^ Indignation^ . 11 

Wanted, A Dose of Grammar — Our Daily Triais 
— Th^ Ishmaslite — Mrs, Marthy Brovm^s 
Son — A Circular Letter — My Mrst Proposal 
— Compliments — More flattering than agree- 
able — Compliments again — Love unto Death 
— The Silver Cord loosened — A Sweet Pur-ta- 
a-tur-r — Sober Ladies wanted — Delicate Sen- 
sibilities — More of them — Free and Equal 
American Servant Ladies — Sociable Spittoon 
— PossessiQn Nine and Half Points of Law—: 

Vi et armia — Spirit of '63 — Not "A Minis- 
tjtrSnn Angel, thou " — Work — First Eitsay — 
is — Where the Weary are at Jiest — "An 
Son, and my Mother a Widow," . 
res and Affections — If not my Son, then 
er Mother's — Sacred Feelings and bad 
%mar — Sad Letters — Yirginians — An- 
ism — 2'he wicked Marylanders — 
Wesome Customers — Good Wine needs 
«aA — Annoyances — Woman^s Wit wins 
ifi Flesh-pots of Egypt, . 
—No Hope in this World — Dead, 
jidiarities and Differences — Tar-Seel 
3 — Bahies even give up Milh — Our Little 
ince — Loved and Lost, . 
quering Hero comes again — The Hero 
1 — Rats, Hopeless Inebriates — What 
litutes a Lady? — The Hero again, — 
again — Military Law Declared — Ftve 
tes' Grace—The Tables l^imed—Con- 
but not Clear — A Storm Brewing — 
matic Correspondence — Conf>mon of 
s — ^010 History is made — Aon-iTiter- 
>n-~~Amende, .... 
ind Doubts — Sorrow and Privation — 
Ihange — Educated Rats — Rat Surgeon 
vel Style of catching them, 
lal Animosities — The Bitter Blood — A 
non Sight — A looking- Glass Wanted — 
ination — Prisoners of War — Unwelcome 



Visitors — An Unexpected Oathering^ — Coun- 
terchecks — Cfieokmated — Unexpected and Un- 
welcome Visitor — What shall I do with it? — 
As Godmother — Sbme-SicknesSy . .104 

Spring Operations — Unpleasant Truths — Cast 
your bread upon the waters — Draw the Vail 
down — A Common Story — A Strange Ex- 
perience — " We left him alone in his Glory " 
— Intense Anxiety — Saved, . . .119 

Itinerary Labors — A Hose by any other Name — 
Not among the Compliments — New Uses for 
the Bible — Camp Fashions — Idfe was so 
Sweet — Difficult Hesponsibilities — Failures — 
Erin-go^bragh — Whiskey Yersus Heligion, . 127 

My Furlough — Off— A Strong-Minded Failure — 
A Hard Road to IVavel — Services not JRe- 
quired — Friend to the ^^ Fay males'*'* — A Bold 
Attempt — None bitt the Fair deserve the 
Brave — Importance of hair-pins — Another 
Attempt — Frightened at last — AlTs Well that 
ends Well — Vp- Country Georgia Eloquence 
— General Desolation — A Woman has an 
Opinion — Beaten at Last — One of our Fu- 
ture Presidents — Compromises^ . .137 
Comparisons — Entire Besumption — Christmas 
Festivities — Discussions regarding the Hero 
— Scribbled Eggs and Flitters — Un-chew- 
able Foody ..... 166 

Culinary Mortificalions — Pickles versus Some- 
spwfiy ... . . 161 

10 Contents. 


Beginning of the End — Agitations — History — 
Picture of the TYmes — The Departure — Bum- 
ii^g of the City — Last Scenes — Taking Pos- 
session — Entrance of the Federal Army — ^ ^ , 
Occupation of the City — Amusements Far- T ^ 

nished — Wicked Ingratitude — Circus and \ 

Pictorial Food — Distinguished Visitors — 
Miracles — Deft " cUone in my glory " — Hero 
re-appears — Noli me tangere — Victory \ 

Perches on my Banner — Confederate FuU 
Dress — Casus belli — The Law of Nations — 
Liberty or Death — At Last I — The Mother of 
States — My Thanks — And Gratitude^ .163 

TheFndj ...... 191 \ 



Soon after the breaking out c 
war, tile need of hospitals, prop 
and arranged, began to be felt, 
adapted for the pnrjwse were bc 
ernment. Eichmond, being nea 
of action, took the lead in th 
the formerly hastily contrived at 
for the sick were soon replaced 1 
comfortable and better ventilated 

The expense of keeping up e 
had forced itself upon the atl 
surgeon general, Moore, who on 
gradually incorporated them int 
immense establishments, strewi 
suburbs. These were called C 
Camp Winder, Chimborazo Hi 

12 Introduction. 

Hospital and Howard GroVe ; and were ar- 
ranged so that from thirty to forty wards 
formed a division, and generally five divisions a 
hospital. Each ward accommodated from thirty 
to forty patients, according to the immediate 
need for space. Besides the sick wards, similar 
buildings were nsed for o^cial purposes, for in 
these immense establishments every necessary 
trade was carried on. There were the carpen- 
ter's, blacksmith's, apothecary's and shoe- 
maker's shops; the icehouses, commissary's 
and quartermaster's departments; and offices 
for surgeons, stewards, baggage-masters and 
clerks. Each division was furnished with all 
these, and each hospital presented to the eye 
the appearance of a small village. 

There was no reason why, with this prepara- 
tion for the wounded and sick, that they should 
not have received all the benefit of good nurs- 
ing and food ; but soon rumors began to circu- 
late that there was something wrong in hospital 
administration, and Congress, desirous of reme- 
dying omissions, passed a law by which matrons 
were appointed. They had no official recogni- 
tion, ranking even below stewards from a J 

Women ef tlie South. 1 3 

military point of view. Their pay was almost 
nominal from the depreciated nature of the 
currency. There had been a great deal of 
desultory visiting and nursing, by the women, 
previous to this law taking effect, resulting in 
more harm than benefit to the patients; and 
now that the field was open, a few, very few 
ladies, and a great many inefficient and unedu- 
cated women, hardly above the laboring classes, 
applied for and filled the offices. 

The women of the South had been openly 
and violently rebellious from the moment they 
thought their States' rights touched. They in- 
cited the men to struggle in support of their 
views, and whether right or wrpng, sustained 
them nobly to the end. They were the first to 
rebel — the last to succumb. Taking an active 
part in all that came within their sphere, and 
often compelled to go beyond this when the 
field demanded as many soldiers as could be 
raised; feeling a passion of interest in every 
man in the gray uniform of the Confederate 
service ; they were doubly anxious to give com- 
fort and assistance to the sick and wounded. 
In the course of a long and harassing war, with 

14 Startling Proposition. 

ports blockaded and harvests burnt, rail tracks 
constantly torn up, so that supplies of food 
were cut oflf, and sold always at exorbitant 
prices, no appeal was ever made to the women 
of the South, individually or collectively, that 
did not meet with a ready response. There was 
no parade of generosity ; no pubUshed lists of 
donations, inspected by public eyes. What 
was contributed was given unostentatiously, 
whether a barrel of coflfee or the only half 
bottle of wine in the giver's possession. 

About this time one of these large hospitals 
was to be opened, and the wife of the then act- 
ing secretary of war offered me the superin- 
tendence — rather a startling proposition to a 
woman used to all the comforts of luxurious 
life. Foremost among the Virginia women, she 
had given her resources of mind and means to 
the sick, and her graphic and earnest represen- 
tations of the benefit a good and determined 
woman's rule could effect in such a position 
settled the result in my mind. The natural 
idea that such a life would be injurious to the 
delicacy and refinement of a lady — that her 
nature would become deteriorated and her 



First Appearance on any Stage, 1 5 

sensibilities blunted, was rather appalling. 
But the first step only costs, and that was soon 

A preUminary interview with the surgeon-in- 
chief gave necessary confidence. He was ener- 
getic— capable— skillful. A man with ready 
oil to pour upon troubled waters. Difliculties 
melted ,away beneath the warmth of his ready 
interest, and mountains sank into mole-hills 
when his quick comprehension had surmounted 
and leveled them. However troublesome daily 
increasing annoyances became, if they could 
not be removed, his few and ready words sent 
applicants and grumblers home satisfied to do 
the best they could. Wisely he decided to 
have an educated and eflicient woman at the 
head of his hospital, and having succeeded, 
never allowed himself to forget that fact. 

The day after my decision was made found 

me at "headquarters," the only two-story 

\ building on hospital ground, then occupied by 

f.^ the chief surgeon and his clerks. He had not 

yet made his appearance that morning, and 

. while awaiting him, many of his corps, who had 

expected in horror the advent of female sui>er- 

1 6 Petticoat Government. 

vision, walked in and out, evidently inspecting 
me. There was at that time a general ignor- 
ance on all sides, except among the hospital 
officials, of the decided objection on the part of 
the latter to the carrying out of a law which 
they prognosticated would entail "petticoat 
government ;" but there was no mistaking the 
stage-whisper which reached my ears from the 
open door of the office that morning, as the 
little contract surgeon passed out and informed 
a friend he met, in a tone of ill-concealed dis- 
gust, that ^^ one of them had come.^^ 

To those not acquainted with hospital ar- 
rangements, some explanations are necessary. 
To each hospital is assigned a surgeon -in-chief. 
To each division of the hospital, a surgeon in 
charge. To each ward of the division, an 
assistant surgeon. But when the press of busi- 
ness is great, contract doctors are also put in 
charge of wards. The surgeon-in-chief makes 
an inspection each day, calling a board of in- 
ferior surgeons to make their report to him. 
The surgeon in charge is always on the ground, 
goes th^"^" "''■ ^^ -^ wards daily, consulting with 
his f \ reforming abuses, making 

Dull^ but necessary Details. 17 

his report daily to the surgeon-in-chief. The 
assistant surgeon has only his one or two wards 
to attend, passing through them twice each 
day and prescribing. In cases of danger he 
calls in the surgeon in charge for advice or 
assistance. The contract surgeons performed 
the same duties as assistant surgeons, but 
ranked below them, as they were not commis- 
sioned officers and received less pay. Each 
ward had its corps of nurses, unfortunately not 
practised or expert in their duties, as they had 
been sick or wounded men, convalescing and 
placed in that position, — however ignorant they 
might be, — till strong enough for field duty. 
This arrangement bore very hard upon all inter- 
ested, and harder upon the sick, as it entailed 
constant supervision and endless teaching ; but 
the demand for men in the field was too imper- 
ative to allow those who were fit for their 
duties there to be detained for nursing pur- 
poses, however skillful they may have become. 
Besides these mentioned, the hospital con- 
tained an endless horde of stewards and their 
clerks ; surgeons' clerks ; commissaries and their 

clerks ; quartermasters and clerks ; apothecaries 

1 8 Initiation. 

and clerks ; baggage-masters ; forage-masters ; 
wagon • masters ; cooks ; bakers ; carpenters ; 
shoemakers ; ward-inspectors ; ambulance-driv- 
ers ; and many more ; forgotten hangers-on, to 
whom the soldiers gave the name of ''hospital 
rats" in common with would-be invalids who 
resisted being cured from a disinclination to 
field service. They were so called, it is to be 
supposed, from the diflSculty of getting rid of 
either species. Still, many of them were phy- 
sically unfit for the field. 

Among these conflicting elements, all belit- 
tled at a time of general enthusiasm by long 
absence from the ennobling influences of mili- 
tary service, and all striving with rare excep- 
tions to gain the small benefits and rare comforts 
so scai'ce in the Confederacy, I was introduced 
that day by the surgeon in charge. He was a 
cultivated, gentlemanly man, kind-heai*ted when 
he remembered to be so, and very much afraid 
of any responsibility resting upon his shoulders. 
No preparations had been made by him for his 
female department. He escorted me into a long, 
low, whitewashed building, open from end to 
end, cp^' ^ * ' ^o benches, and then, with en- 

" Great Oaks from little Acorns grow ^ tg 

tire composure, as if surrounding circumstances 
were most favorable, commenced an aesthetic 
conversation on belles lettres^ female influence, 
and the first, last and only novel published dur- 
ing the war. (It was a translation of Joseph the 
Second^ printed on gray and bound in marbled 
wall-paper.) A neat compliment offered at 
leave-taking rounded oflE the interview, with a 
parting promise from him to send me the car- 
penter to make partitions and shelves for office, 
parlor, laundry, pantry and kitchen. The stew- 
ard was then summoned for consultation, and 
my representative reign began. 

A stove was unearthed ; very small, very 
rusty, and fit only for a family of six. There 
were then about six hundred men upon the 
matron' s diet list, the illest ones to be supplied 
with food from my kitchen, and the convales- 
cents from the steward's, called, in contra-dis- 
tinction from mine, "the big kitchen." Just 
then my mind could hardly grope through the 
darkness that clouded it, as to what were my 
special duties, but one mental spectrum always 
presented itself — chicken soup. 

Having vaguely heard of requisitions, I then 

20 Partnership with Jim. 

and there made my first, in very unofficial style. 
A polite request sent thro 'igh "Jim" (a small 
black boy) to the steward for a pair of 
chickens. They came instantly ready dressed 
for cooking. Jim picked up some shavings, 
kindled up the stove, begged, borrowed or stole 
(either act being lawful to his mind), a large 
iron pot from the big kitchen. For the first 
time I cut up with averted eyes a raw bird, and 
the Rubicon was passed. 

My readers must not suppose that this pic- 
ture applies generally to all our hospitals, or 
that means and appliances so early in the war 
for food and comfort, were so meagre. This 
state of affairs was only the result of accident 
and some misunderstanding. The surgeon of 
my hospital naturally thought I had informed 
myself of the power vested in me by virtue of 
my position, and, having some experience, 
would use the rights given me by the law 
passed in Congress, to arrange my own depart- 
ment ; and I, on reading the bill, could only 
understand that the office was one that dove- 
tailed tj^^^ties of housekeeper and cook^ 

led tj^^it 

A First Venture, 21 

In the meantime the sonp was boiling, and 
was undeniably a success, from the i)erf nme it 
exhaled. Nature may not have intended me 
for a Florence Nightingale, but a kitchen 
proved my worth. Frying-pans, griddles, stew- 
pans and coflfee-pots soon became my house- 
hold gods. The niches must have been pre- 
pared years previously, invisible to the naked 
eye but still there. 

Graining courage from familiarity with my 
position, a venture across the lane brought me 
to the nearest ward (they were all separate 
buildings, it must be remembered, covering a 
half mile of ground in a circle, one story high, 
with long, low windows opening back in a 
groove against the inside wall), and, under the 
first I peeped in, lay the shadow of a man ex- 
tended on his bed, pale and attennuated. 

What woman's heart would not melt and 
make itself a home where so much needed % 

His wants were inquired into, and, like all 
the humbler class of men, who think that unless 
they have been living on hog and hominy they 
are starved, he complained of not having eaten 
anything " for three mortal weeks." 

22 " A Rose by any otJier name^' &c. 

In the present state of the kitchen larder, 
there was certainly not much of a choice, and I 
was as yet ignorant of the capabilities of the 
steward's department. However, soup was sug- 
gested, as a great soother of "misery in his 
back," and a generous supply of adjectives 
prefixed for flavor — "nice, hot, good chicken 
soup." The suggestion was received kindly. 
If it was very nice he would take some : "he 
was never, though, much of a hand for drinks." 
My mind rejected the application of words, but 
matter not mind, was the subject under con- 

All my gastronomic experience revolted 
against soup without the sick man's parsley ; 
and Jim, my acting partner, volunteered to get 
some at a mysterious place he always called 
"The Dutchman's," so at last, armed with a 
bowl full of the decoction, duly salted, pep- 
pered, and seasoned, I again sought my first 

He rose deliberately — so deliberately that I 
felt sensible of the great favor he was confer- 
ring. He smoothed his tangled locks with a 
weak y ~ ''a piece of well-masticated 

Snubbed. 23 

tobacco from between three or four solitary 
teeth, but still the soup was unappropriated, 
and it appeared evident that some other prelim- 
inaries were to be arranged. The novelty of 
my position, added to a lively imagination, sug- 
gested fears that he might think it necessary to 
arise for compliment sake ; and hospital cloth- 
ing being made to suit the scarcity and expense 
of homespun, the idea was startling. But my 
suspense did not continue long ; he was only 
seeking for a brown-covered tract hid under his 

Did he intend to read grace before meat? 
No, he simply wanted a pocket-handkerchief, 
which cruel war had- denied; so without com- 
ment a leaf was quietly abstracted and used for 
that purpose. The result was satisfactory, for 
the next moment the bowl was taken from my 
hand, and the first spoonful of soup trans- 
mitted to his mouth. 

It was an awful minute I My fate seemed to 
hang upon the fiat of that uneducated palate. 
A long painful gulp, a ''judgmatical" shake 
of the head, not in the aflSrmative, and the bowl 
traveled slowly back to my extended hand. 

24 His Mammas Soup, 

''My mammy's soup was not like that," he 
whined. "But I might worry a little down if 
it war' n't for them weeds a-floating round." 

Well I why be depressed ? There may not 
after all be any actual difference between weed's 
and herbs. 

After that first day improvements rapidly 
progressed. Better stoves, and plenty of them, 
were put up ; closets enclosed ; china or its 
substitutes, pottery and tin, supplied. I learned 
to make requisitions and to use my power. 
The coffee, tea, milk, and all other luxuries 
provided for the sick wards, were, through my 
demand, turned over to me ; also a co-laborer 
with Jim, that young gentleman's disposition 
proving to be like my old horse, who pulled 
well and steadily in single harness, but when 
tried in. double team, left all the hard work to 
the last comer. However, honor to whom 
honor is due. He gave me many hints which 
my higher intelligence had overlooked, com- 
prehended by him more through instinct than 
reason, and was as clever at gathering trophies 
for my kitchen as Gen. Butler was — for other 

Dissolved Partnership with Jim. 25 

Still my office did not rise above that of chief 
cook, for I dared not leave my kitchen unat- 
tended for a moment, till Dr. M., one day, 
passing the window, and seeing me seated on a 
low bench peeling potatoes, appeared much sur- 
prised, and inquired where my cooks were. 
Explanations followed, a copy of hospital rules 
were sent for, and authority found to prorvide 
the matron's department with suitable at- 
tendants. A gentle, sweet-tempered lady, ex- 
tremely neat and efficient, was appointed 
assistant matron, also three or four cooks and 
bakers. Jim and his companion were degraded 
into drawers of water and hewers of wood ; that 
is to say, these ought to have been their duties, 
but their occupation became walking gentle- 
men. On assuming their out-door labors, their 
allegiance to me ceased, and the trophies which 
formerly swelled my list of dainties for the 
sick were nightly carried ''down the hill," 
where everything that was missed disappeared. 

. Then began the routine of hospital life in 
regular order. Breakfast at seven in the morn- 
ing in summer and eight in winter. Coflfee, tea, 
milk, bread of various kinds, and butter or 

26 Explanations, 


molasses, and whatever meats could be saved 
from the yesterday's dinner. This was in the 
first year of the war. Afterwards we were not 
able to be so luxurious. The quantity sup- 
plied would be impartially divided among the 
wards with the retention of the delicacies for 
the very ill men. 

The ward-masters with their nurses gathered 
three times a day, for each meal, around my 
office window adjoining the kitchen, with large 
wooden trays and piles of plates, waiting to 
receive the food, each being helped in turn to a 
fair division. If an invalid craved any particu- 
lar dish the nui'se mentioned the want, and if 
not contrary to the surgeon's order, it, or its 
nearest approximation was allowed him. 

After breakfast the assistant surgeons 
visited their respective wards, making out their 
diet lists, or rather filling them up, for the 
forms were printed, and only the invalid's 
name, number of his bed, and his diet — 
light, half, or full, were required to be 
specified, also the quantity of whiskey desired 
for each. Dinner and supper served in the 
same way, excent for the very sick. They had 

ii ^mm^^am^^i^mfm \ ii 

Routine. 27 

what they desired, in or out of season, and all 
seemed to object to the nutriment concocted 
from those tasteless and starchy compounds of 
wheat, com and arrowroot, that are so thick 
and heavy to swallow, and so little nutritious. 
They were served hot from the fire, or con- 
gealed from the ice (for after the suflEering 
caused from the deprivation of ice the first 
summer of the war was felt, each hospital built 
its own ice-house, which was well filled by the 
next season). At two o'clock the regular dinner 
of poultry, beef, ham, fish and vegetables, was 
distributed. (After the first year our bill of fare 
decreased much in variety.) Supper at six. The 
chief matron sat at her table, the diet lists ar- 
ranged before her, each day, and managed so 
that no especial ward should invariably be the 
first served, although they were named in 
alphabetical order. Any necessary instructions 
of the surgeons were noted and attended to, 
sometimes accompanied with observations of 
her own, not always complimentary to those 
gentlemen, nor prudent as regarded herself. 

The orders ran somewhat in this fashion : 
*' Chicken soup for twenty — ^beef tea for forty — 

28 Mr, Jones' Views, 

tea and toast for flfty." A certain Mr. Jones 
had expressed his abhorrence of tea and toast, 
so I asked the nurse why he gave it to him. 

He answered that the diet was ordered by 
the surgeon, but Jones said he would not touch 
it, for he never ate slops, and so he had eatfen 
nothing for two days. 

''Well, what does he wish V 

"The doctor says tea and toast" (reiterat- 
ing his first remark). 

"Did you tell the doctor he would not eat 

" /told the doctor, and he told the doctor." 

"Perhaps he did not hear, or understand 

" Yes, he did. He only said that he wanted 
that man particularly to have tea and toast, 
though I told him Jones threw it up regularly ; 
so he put it down again, and said Jones was 
out of his head, and Jones says the doctor is 
a fool." 

My remark upon this wag that Jones could 
not be so very much out of his head — an obser- 
vation that entailed subsequent consequences. 
The hab^*" "'^ '*'^mmon among physicians when 


Sufficient for the Day'* &c. 29 

dealing with uneducated i)e6ple, of insisting 
ux)on jxarticular kinds of diet, irresi)ective of 
the patient's tastes, was a i)eculiar grievance 
that no complaint during four years ever 

Although visiting my wards in the morning 
for the purpose of speaking words of comfort 
to the sick, and remedying any apparent evils 
which had been overlooked or forgotten by the 
surgeons when going their rounds, the fear 
that the nourishment furnished had not suited 
the tastes of men debilitated to an extreme not 
only by disease and wounds, but also by the 
privations and exi)Osures of camp life, would 
again take me among them in the afternoon. 
Then would come heart-sickness and discour- 
agement, for out of a hundred invalids, seventy, 
on an average, would assert that they had not 
taken any nourishment whatever. This was 
partly owing to habit or imitation of others, 
and i)artly to the human desire to enlist sym- 
pathy. The common soldier has a horror of a 
hospital, and with the rejection of food comes 
the hope that weakness will increase propor- 
tionally, and a furlough become necessary. 

30 Introduction of Hero. 

Besides, the human palate, to relish good food, 
must be as well educated as other organs for 
other purposes. Who appreciates a good 
painting until his eye is trained, or fine har- 
mony until the ear is cultivated? — and why 
should not the same rule apply to tongue and 
taste % Men who never before had been sick, or 
swallowed those starchy, flavorless compounds 
young surgeons are so fond of prescribing, 
repudiated them invariably, in spite of my 
skill in making them palatable. They were 
suspicious of the terra incognita from which 
they sprang, having had no experience hereto- 
fore, and suspicion always engenders disgust. 

Daily inspection too, convinced me that 
great evils still existed under my rule, in spite 
of my zealous care for my patients. For ex- 
ample, the monthly barrel of whiskey which I 
was entitled to draw still remained at the dis- 
pensary under the guardianship of the apothe- 
cary and his clerks, and quarts and pints were 
issued through any order coming from surgeons 
or their substitutes, so that the contents were 
apt to be gone long before I was entitled to draw 
more, and ^^^ "''*^' would suffer for want of the 

^J..-. ._ 

Introduction of Hero — The Whiskey Barrel, 31 

stimulant. There were many suspicious cir- 
cumstances connected with this institution ; 
for the monthly barrel was an institution and 
a very important one. Indeed, if it is necessary 
to have a hero for this matter-of-fact narrative 
the whiskey barrel will have to step forward 
and make his bow. 

So again I referred to the hospital bill passed 
by Congress, which provided that liquors in 
common with other luxuries, belonged to the 
matron's department, and in an evil moment, 
such an impulse as tempted Pandora to open 
the fatal casket assailed me, and I despatched 
the bill, flanked by a formal requisition for the 
liquor. An answer came in the shape of the 
head surgeon. He declared I would find " the 
charge most onerous," that '* whiskey was re- 
quired at all hours, sometimes in the middle of 
the night, and even if I remained at the hospi- 
tal, he would not like me to be disturbed," " it 
was constantly needed for medicinal purposes," 
*'he was responsible for its proper applica- 
tion ;" but I was not convinced, and withstood 
all argument and persuasion. He was proverbi- 
ally sober himself, but I was aware why both 

32 The Hero Captured. 

commissioned and non-commissioned officers op- 
posed violently the removal of the liquor to 
my quarters. So, the printed law being at hand 
for reference, I nailed my colors to the mast, 
and that evening all the liquor was in my pan- 
try and the key in my pocket. 

The first restraints of a woman's presence 
had now worn away, and the thousand mis- 
eries of my position began to make themselves 
felt. The young surgeons (not all gentlemen, 
although their profession should have made 
them aspirants to the character), and the nurses 
played into each other's hands. If the former 
were oflf on a frolic, the latter would conceal 
the absence of necessary attendance by erasing 
the date of the diet list of the day before, and 
substituting the proper one, duplicating the 
prescription also, and thus preventing inquiry. 
In like manner the assistant surgeons, to whom 
the nurses were alone responsible, would give 
them leave of absence, concealing the fact from 
the head surgeon, which could easily be 
effected ; then the patients would suffer, and 
complaints from the matron be obnoxious and 
troublesoT^ ^ ^Iso entirely out of her line 

Jones' Indignation. 33 

of business. She was to be cook and house- 
keeper, and nothing more. Added now to 
other difficulties was the dragonship of the 
HesperideSj — the guarding of the liquefied 
golden fruit to which access had been open to 
a certain extent before her reign, — ^and for 
njany, many months the petty persecutions 
endured from all the small fry around almost 
exceeded human patience to bear. What the 
surgeon in charge could do to mitigate the 
annoyances entailed he conscientiously did ; 
but with the weight of a large hospital on his 
not very strong mind, and very little authority 
delegated to him, he could hardly reform 
abuses or punish silly attacks, so small in the 
abstract, so great in the aggregate. 

The eventful evening when Mr. Jones re- 
volted against tea and toast, my unfortunate 
remark intended for no particular ear but 
caught by the nurse, that the patient's intel- 
lects could not be confused if he called his 
surgeon a fool, brought forth a recriminating 
note to me. It was from that maligned ' and 
incensed gentleman, and proved the progenitor 
of a long series of communications of the same 

34 Wanted, — A Dose of Grammar, 


■ ' ■ I ■■■ I I I ■ ■ I ■ ■ III I II ^ ^^M^— ■ , ^M^— ^.^i^l^.^— iM^»^i^ 

character; a family likeness pervading them 

all. They generally commenced with "Dr. 

presents his compliments to the chief matron," 
continuing with "Mrs. and I," and end- 
ing with "you and him." They were difficult 
to understand, and more difficult to endure. 
Accustomed to be treated with extreme defer- 
ence and courtesy by the highest officials con- 
nected with the government, moving in the 
same social grade I had always occupied when 
beyond hospital bounds, the change was 

The inundation of notes that followed for 
many months could not have been sent back 
unopened, the last refuge under the circum- 
stances, for some of them might have related 
to the well-being of the sick. My pen certainly 
was ready enough, but could I waste my thun- 
derbolts in such an atmosphere ? 

The depreciated currency, which purchased 
only at fabulous prices by this time ; the poor 
pay the government (feeling the necessary of 
keeping up the credit of its paper) gave to its 
officials ; the natural craving for luxuries that 
h^ H common food before the war, 

Daily Trials. 35 

caused api)eals to be made to me, sometimes for 
the applicant, of tener for his sick wife or child, 
so constantly, that had I given even one-tenth 
of the gifts demanded there would have been 
but little left for my patients. 

It was hard to refuse, for the plea that it 
\ was not mine but merely a charge confided to 
me, was looked upon as a pretext ; outsiders 
calculating upon the quantity issued to my 
department and losing sight of the ownership of 
the quantity received. 

Half a dozen convalescent men would lose 
their tasteless dinner daily at the steward's 
table, and beg for ^'anything," which would 
mean turkey and oysters. Others ''had been 
up all night and craved a cup of coffee and a 
roll," and as for diseases among commissioned 
and non-commissioned men, caused by entire 
destitution of whiskey, and only to be cured by 
it — their name tvas legion. Every pound of 
coffee, every ounce of whiskey, bushel of flour 
or vegetables duly weighed before delivery, 
was intended for its particular consumers ; who, 
if they even could not eat or drink what was 
issued for them watched their property zeal- 

36 The Ishmaelite. 

ously, and claimed it too. So wliat had I to 
give away ? 

The necessity of refusing the live -long day, 
forced upon naturally generous tempers, makes 
them captious and uncivil, and under the pres- 
sure the soft answer cannot be evoked to turn 
away wrath. Demands would increase until 
they amounted to persecutions when the re- 
fusals became the rule instead of the excep- 
tion, and the breach thus made grew wider 
day by day, until '' my hand was against every 
man, and every man's hand against me." 

Besides, there was little gratitude felt in a 
hospital, and certainly none expressed. The 
mass of patients were uneducated men, who 
had lived by the sweat of their brow, and grati- 
tude is an exotic plant, reared in a refined 
atmosphere, kept free from coarse contact and 
nourished by unselfishness. Common natures 
look only with surprise at great sacrifices and 
cunningly avail themselves of the benefits they 
bestow, but give nothing in return, — not even 
the satisfaction of allowing the giver to feel 
that the care bestowed has been beneficial ; 
tk^' ntail compensation of some kind, 

Mrs, Marthy Browns Son, 37 

and in their ignorance they fear the nature of 
the equivalent which might be demanded. 

Still, pleasant episodes often occurred to 
vary disappointments and lighten duties. 

"Kin you writ me a letter?" drawled a 
whining voice from a bed in one of the wards, 
a cold day in ' 62. 

The speaker was an up-country Georgian, 
one of the kind called "Goubers" by the 
soldiers generally ; lean, yellow, attennuated, 
with wispy strands of hair hanging over his 
high, thin cheek-bones. He put out a hand to 
detain me and the nails were like claws. 

"Why do you not let the nurse cut your 

" Because I aren't got any spoon, and I use 
them instead." 

"Will you let nae have your hair cut then ? 
You can't get well with all that dirty hair 
hanging about your eyes and ears." 

" No, I can't git my hair cut, kase as how I 
promised my mammy that I would let it grow 
till the war be over. Oh, it's onlucky to cut 

" Then I can' t write any letter for you. Do 

38 A Circular Letter, 

what I wish you to do, and then I will oblige 

This was plain talking. The hair was cut (I 
left the nails for another day), my portfolio 
broaght, and sitting by the side of his bed I 
waited for further orders. They came with 
a formal introduction, — "for Mrs, Marthy 
" My dear Mammy : 

" I hope this finds yon well, as it leaves me 
well, and I hope that I shall git a furlough 
Christmas, and come and see you, and I hope 
that you will keep well, and all the folks be 
well by that time, as I hopes to be well myself. 
This leaves me in good health, as I hope it 

finds yoa and " 

Bat here I paused, as his mind seemed to 
be going round in a circle, and asked him a few 
questions about his home, his position during 
the last summer's campaign, how he got sick, 
and where his brigade was at that time. Thus 
furnished with some material to work upon, 
the latter proceeded rapidly. Pour sides were 
iuscientiously filled, for no soldier would 
ii-' ' "T worth sending home that showed 

^ I 

J/y First Proposal, 39 

any blank paper. Transcribing his name, the 
number of his ward and proper address, so 
that an answer might reach him — the compo- 
sition was read to liim. Gradually his pale 
face brightened, a sitting posture was assumed 
with difficulty (for, in spite of his determined 
effort in his letter ''to be well," he was far 
from convalescence). As I folded and directed 
it, contributed the expected five-cent stamp, 
and handed it to him, he gazed cautiously 
around to be sure there were no listeners. 

''Did you writ all that?" he asked, whis- 
pering, but with great emphasis. * 


"Did 7 say all that?" 

" I think you did." 

A long pause of undoubted admiration — 
astonishment ensued. What was working in 
that poor mind ? Cotild it be that Psyche had 
stirred one of the delicate plumes of her wing 
and touched that dormant soul ? 

"Are you married?" The harsh voice 
dropped very low. 

" I am not. At least, I am a widow." 

He rose still higher in bed. He pushed 

40 Compliments, 

away desperately the tangled hay on his brow. 
A faint color fluttered over the hollow cheek, 
and stretching out a long piece of bone with a 
talon attached, he gently touched my arm 
and with constrained voice whispered mysteri- 
ously : 

"You wait!" 

And readers, I am waiting still ; and I here 
caution the male portion of creation who may 
adore through their mental powers, to respect 
my confidence, and not seek to shake my 

Other compliments were paid me, perhaps 
not of so conclusive a nature, and they were 
noticeable from their originality and novelty, 
but they were also rare. Expression was not a 
gift among the common soldiers. ' ' You will 
wear them little feet away," said a rough Ken- 
tuckian, "running around so much. They 
ar'n't much to boast of anyway." Was not 
this as complimentary as the lover who com- 
pared his mistress's foot to a dream ; and much 
more comprehensible? 

At intervals the lower wards, lUnused except 
in tim*^" ^^ '^^^eat need, for they were unfur- 


More flattering than agreeable, 4 1 

nished with any comforts, would be filled with 
rough soldiers from camp, sent to recuperate 
after field service, who may not have seen a 
female face for months ; and though generally 
too much occupied to notice them much, their 
partly concealed, but determined regard would 
become embarrassing. One day, while direct- 
ing arrangements with a ward-master, my 
attention was attracted by the pertinacious 
staring of a rongh-looking Texan. He walked 
round and round me in rapidly narrowing cir- 
cles, examining every detail of my dress, face, 
and figure ; his eye never fixing upon any par- 
ticular part for a moment but traveling inces- 
santly all over me. It seemed the wonder of 
the mind at the sight of a new creation. I 
moved my position ; he shifted his to suit the 
new arrangement — ^again a change was made, so 
obviously to get out of his range of vision, that 
with a delicacy of feeling that the roughest 
men always treated me with, he desisted from 
his inspection so far, that though his person 
made no movement, his neck twisted round to 
accommodate his eyes, till I supposed some 
progenitor of his family had been an owl. The 

42 Compliments again, 

men began to titter, and my patience became 

''What is the matter, my man? Did you 
never see a woman before ?" 

''Jerusalem!" he ejaculated, not making 
the slightest motion towards withdrawing his 
determined notice, " I never did see such a nice 
one. Why, you's as pretty as a pair of red 
shoes with green strings." 

These were the two compliments laid upon 
the shrine of my vanity during four years' con- 
tact with thousands of patients, and I commit 
them to paper to stand as a visionary portrait, 
to prove to my readers that a woman with at- 
tractions similar to a pair of red shoes with 
green strings must have some claim to the 
apple of Paris. 

Scenes of pathos occurred daily — scenes that 
wrung the heart and forced the dew of pity 
from the eyes ; but feeling that enervated the 
mind and relaxed the body was a sentimental 
luxury that was not to be indulged in. There 
was too much work to be done, too much active 
exertion required, to allow the mental or phy- 
sical powers to succumb. They were severely 

■ g i- ^JV — 1 . f Ji^. —. -■ ,n., . J 

Love unto Death, 43 

taxed each day. Perhaps they balanced, and 
so kept each other from sinking. There was, 
indeed, but little leisure to sentimentalize, the 
necessity for action being ever present. 

After the battle of Fredericksburg, while 
giving small doses of brandy to a dying man, a 
low, pleasant voice, said ''Madam." It came 
from a youth not over eighteen years of age, 
seeming very ill, but so placid, with that earn- 
est, far-away gaze, so common to the eyes of 
those who are looking their last on this world. 
Does God in his mercy give a glimpse of com- 
ing peace, past understanding, that we see 
reflected in the dying eyes into which we look 
with such strong yearning to fathom what they 
see ? He shook his head in negative to all 
offers of food or drink or suggestions of softer 
pillows and lighter covering. 

" I want Perry," was his only wish. 

On inquiry I found that Perry was the 
friend and companion who marched by his side 
in the field and slept next to him in camp, but 
of whose whereabouts I was ignorant. Armed 
with a requisition from our surgeon, I sought 
him among the sick and wounded at all the 

44 '^he Silver Cord loosened, 


other hospitals. I found him at Camp Jack- 
son, put him in my ambulance, and on arrival 
at my own hospital found my patient had 
dropped asleep. A bed was brought and 
placed at his side, and Perry, only slightly 
wounded, laid upon it. Just then the sick boy 
awoke wearily, turned over, and the half-un- 
conscious eve fixed itself. He must have been 
dreaming of the meeting, for he still distrusted 
the reality. Illness had spiritualized the 
youthful face ; the transparent forehead, the 
delicate brow so clearly defined, belonged more 
to heaven than earth. As he recognized his 
comrade the wan and expressionless lips 
curved into the happiest smile — the angel of 
death had brought the light of summer skies to 
that pale face. "Perry," he cried, '^ Perry," 
and not another word, but with one last effort 
he threw himself into his friend's arms, the 
radiant eyes closed, but the smile still remained 
— he was dead. 

There was but little sensibility exhibited by 
soldiers for the fate of their comrades in field 
or hospital. The results of war are here to-day 
and gone to-morrow. I stood still, spell-bound 

A Sweet Pur-ta-a-tur-r, 45 

by that youthful death-bed, when my painful 
revery was broken upon by a drawling voice 
from a neighboring bed, which had been 
calling me by such peculiar names or titles 
that I had been oblivious to whom they were 

''Look here. I say, Aunty! — Mammy! — 
You!" Then, in despair, " Missus ^ Mauma ! 
Kin you gim me sich a thing as a b- iled sweet 
pur-r-rta-a-a-tu-ur ? I b'long to the Twenty- 
secun' Nor' Ka-a-a-li-i-na rigiment." I told the 
nurse to remove his bed from proximity to his 
dead neighbor, thinking that in the low state 
of his health from fever the sight might gflect 
his nerves, but he treated the suggestion with 

"Don't make no sort of diflference to me; 
they dies all around me in the field — don't 
trouble Tz^e." 

The wounded men at this time began to 
make serious complaints that the liquor issued 
did not reach them, and no vigilance on my 
part appeared to check the improper appropri- 
ation of it, or lead to any discovery of the 
thieves in the wards. There were many ob- 

46 Sober Ladies wanted. 

stacles to be aarmoaiited before proper precaa- 
tiona could be taken. Lumber was so expen- 
sive that closets in eacli ward wfere out of the 
question, and if made locks could not be pur- 
chased for any amount of money. The liquor, 
therefore, when it left my quarters, was open to 
any passer-by in the wards who would watch 
his opportunity ; so, although I had strong and 
good reasons for excluding female nurses, the 
supposition that liquor would be no temptation 
to them, and would be more apt to reach its 
proper destination through their care, deter- 
mined me to engage them. 

Unlucky thought, born in an evil hour I 
There were no lack of applications when the 
want was circulated, but my choice hesitated 
between ladies of education and position, who I 
knew would be willing to aid me, and the com- 
mon class of respectable servants. The latter 
suited best, becanse it was to be supposed they 
would be more amenable to authority. They 
were engaged, and the very sick wards divided 
among three of them; They were to keep the 
' ^ ilothing in order, receive and dispense the 
If, carrv any delicacy in the way of food 

Delicate Sensibilities. 47 

where it was most needed, and in fact do any- 
thing reasonable that was requested. The last 
stipulation was dwelt upon strongly. The next 
day my new corps were in attendance, and tlje 
different liquors, beverages and stimulants de- 
livered to them under the black looks of the 
ward-masters. No. 1 received hers silently. 
She was a cross-looking woman from North 
Carolina, painfully ugly, or rather what is 
termed hard-featured, and apparently very 
taciturn ; the last quality rather an advantage. 
She had hardly left my kitchen when she 
returned with all the drinks, and a very indig- 
nant face. 

In reply to inquiries made she proved her 
taciturnity was not chronic. She asserted 
loudly that she was a decent woman, and 
*'was not going anywhere in a place where a 
man sat up on his bed in his shirt, and the rest 
laughed — she knew they were laughing at her." 
The good old proverb that talking is silver but 
silence is gold had impressed itself on my mind 
long before this, so I silently took her charge 
from her, telling her that a hospital was no 
place for a person of her delicate sensibilities. 

48 More of them. 

and at the same time holding up Miss G. and 
myself (who were young enough to be her 
daughters), as examples for her imitation. 
^ She answered truly that we acted as we 
pleased and so would she ; and that was the 
last I saw of her. What her ideas of hospital 
life were I never inquired, and shall never 

No. 2 came briskly forward. She was a 
plausible, light-haired, light-eyed and light- 
complexioned Englishwoman ; very petite, with 
a high nose. She had come to the hospital 
with seven trunks, which ought to have been a 
warning to me, but she brought such strong 
recommendations from responsible parties that 
they warped my judgment. She received the 
last trust handed her — an open pitcher of hot 
punch — with averted head, nose turned aside, 
and held it at arm's length with a high dis- 
dain mounted upon her high nose. Her ex- 
cuse for this antipathy was that the smell of 
liquor was "awful," she "could not a-bear 
it," and "it turned her witals." This w^as 
rather suspicious, but we deferred judgment. 
Dinner was distributed. No. 2 appeared, 

ij'ti'j" y r! 

Free ayid Equal American Servant Ladies, 49 

composed, vigilant and attentive to her duties, 
carrying her delicacies of food to her wards 
with the assistance of the nurses. No. 3, an 
inoffensive woman did the same, and all worked 
well. That afternoon, when I had retired to 
my little sanctum to take the one hour's rest 
that I allowed myself each day undisturbed. 
Miss Gr. put her head in the door with an appre- 
hensive look and said, '^ the new matrons 
wished to see me." They were admitted, and 
my high-nosed friend, who had been elected 
spokeswoman it seems, said after a few pre- 
liminaries, with a toss of her head and a couple 
of sniffs that I "seemed to have made myself 
very comfortable." 

This was assented to graciously. She added 
that other people were not, who were quite as 
much entitled to style. This also remained un- 
disputed, and then she stated her real grievance, 
that they "were not satisfied, for I had not in- 
vited them to call upon me, or into my room," 
and " they considered themselves quite as much 
ladies as I was." I answered I was giad to 
hear it, and hoped they would always act as 
ladies should, and in a way suitable to the 

50 Sociable Spittoon, 

title. There was an evident desire on her part 
to say more, but she had not calculated upon 
the style of reception, and therefore was thrown 
out beyond her line of action, so she civilly 
requested me to call and inspect their quarters 
that they were dissatisfied with. An hour later 
I did so, and found them sitting around a 
sociable spittoon, with a friendly box of snuff — 
dipping I I found it impossible to persuade 
them that the government was alone responsible 
for their poor quarters, they persisted in hold- 
ing me answerable. 

The next day, walking through one of the 
wards under No. 2's charge, I found a part of 
the building, of about eight to ten feet square, 
portioned off, a roughly improvised plank par- 
tition dividing this temporary room from the 
rest of the ward. Seated comfortably therein 
was the new matron, entrenched among her 
trunks. A neat table and comfortable chair, 
abstracted from my few kitchen appurtenances, 
added to her comforts. Choice pieces of 
crockery, remnants of more luxurious times, 
that had at one time adorned my shelves, were 
disposed tastefully around, and the drinks 

Possession Nine and Half Points of Law, 5 1 

issued by me for the patients were conveniently 
placed at her elbow. She explained that she 
kept them there to prevent thefts. Perhaps 
the nausea communicated from their neighbor- 
hood had tinted the high nose higher, and 
there was a defiant look about her, as if she 
sniffed the battle afar. 

It was very near though, and had to be 
fought, however disagreeable, so I instantly 
entered into explanations, short, but polite. 
Each patient being allowed, by law, a certain 
number of feet, every inch taken therefrom was 
so much ventilation lost, and the abstraction of 
as much space as she had taken for illegal pur- 
pose's was a serious matter, and conflicted with 
the rules that governed the hospital. Besides 
this, no woman was allowed to stay in the 
wards, for obvious reasons. 

No. 2, however, was a sensible person, for 
she did not waste Tier breath in talking ; she 
merely held her position. An appeal made by 
me to the surgeon of the ward did not result 
favorably ; he said I had engaged her, she 
belonged to my corps, and was under my 
supervision : so I sent for the steward. 

52 Vi et armis. 

The steward of a hospital cannot define 
exactly what his duties are, the difficulty being 
to find out what they are not. Whenever it 
has to be decided who has to fill a disagreeable 
office, the choice invariably falls upon the 
steward. So a message was sent to his quarters 
to request him to compel No. 2 to evacuate her 
hastily improvised premises. He hesitated 
long, but engaging at last the services of his 
assistant, a broad-shouldered fighting character, 
proceeded to eject the new tenant. 

He commenced operations by polite ex- 
planations ; but they were met in a startling 
manner. She arose and rolled up her sleeves, 
advancing upon him as he receded down the 
ward. The sick and wounded men roared with 
laughter, cheering her on, and she remained 
mistress of the field. Dinner preparations 
served as an interlude and silently suppressed, 
she as usual made her entree into the kitchen, 
received the drinks for her ward and vanished. 
Half an hour elapsed and then the master of 
the ward in which she had domiciled herself 
made his report to me, and recounted a pitiful 
tale. He was a neat quiet manager, and usu- 

^"'i-i ••^'- ■ ^- ZSZL-.^-- —- -] 

Spirit of '^i. S3 

ally kept his quarters beautifully clean. No. 
2, he said, divided the dinner, and whenever 
she came across a bone in hash or stew, or in- 
deed anything therein displeased her, she took 
it in her fingers and dashed it upon the floor. 
With so little to make a hospital gay, this 
peculiar episode was a god-send to the soldiers, 
and indeed to all the lookers on. The sur- 
geons stood laughing, in groups, the men 
crowded to the windows of the belligerent 
power, and a coup-cPetat became necessary. 

" Send me the carpenter I" I felt the spirit 
of Boadicea. The man stepped up; he had 
always been quiet, civil and obedient. 

'^ Come with me into Ward E." 

A few steps took us there. 

'' Knock down that partition and carry away 
those boards." It was un fait accompli. 

But the victory was not gained, only the 
fortifications stormed and taken, for almost 
hidden by flying splinters and dust. No. 2 sat 
among her seven trunks enthroned like Rome 
upon her seven hills. 

The story furnishes no further interest, but 
the result was very annoying. She was put 



54 Not " A Ministering Angela thou. 

into my ambulance very drunk by this time and 
sent away, her trunks sent after her. The next 
day, neatly dressed, she managed to get an in- 
terview with the medical director, enlisted his 
sympathy by a plausible appeal and description 
of her desolate condition. "A refugee," or 
''refewgee," as she called herself, "trying to 
make her living decently," and receiving an 
order to report at our hospital, was back there 
by noon. Explanations had to be written, and 
our surgeon-in-chief to interfere with his au- 
thority, before we could get rid of her. 

About this time (April, 1863), an attack on 
Drewry's Bluflf, which guarded Kichmond on 
the James river side, was expected, and it was 
made before the hospital was in readiness to 
receive the wounded. The cannonading could 
be heard distinctly in the city, and dense smoke 
descried rising from the battle-field. The Rich- 
mond people had been too often, if not through 
the wars at least within sight and hearing of its 
terrors, to feel any great alarm. 

The inhabitants lying in groups, crowded 
the eastern brow of the hill above Rocketts and 
the James river; overlooking the scene, and 

r^ lgnfc*Jll> ■■■ 

Work, 5 5 

discussing the probable results of the struggle ; 
while the change from the dull, full boom of 
the cannon to the sharp rattle of musketry- 
could be easily distinguished. The sun was 
setting amidst stormy, purple clouds ; and 
when low upon the horizon sent long slanting 
rays of yellow light from beneath them, athwart 
the battle scene, throwing it in strong relief. 
The shells burst in the air above the fortifica- 
tions at intervals, and with the aid of glasses 
dark blue masses of uniforms could be distin- 
guisiJied, though how near the scene of action 
could not be discerned. About eight o'clock the 
slightly wounded began to straggle in with a 
bleeding hand, or contused arm or head, bound 
up in any convenient rag. 

Their accounts were meagre, for men in the 
ranks never know anything about general 
results — they almost always have the same an- 
swer ready, '' We druv 'em nowhere." 

In another half-hour, vehicles of all kinds 
crowded in, from a wheelbarrow to a stretcher, 
and yet no orders had been sent me to prepare 
for the wounded. Pew surgeons had remained 
in the hospital; the proximity to the field 

56 tVffrk. 

tempring them to join the ambnlance com- 
" ! scene of action ; and the 
t in charge, naturally ob- 
; a lai^ body of suffering 
sents made for their com- 
ttendance. I -was prepar- 
home at the Secretary of 
itumed every night, when 
e wonnded in ambnlances, 
rts, caiTiages, and every 
. could be impressed de- 
them unattended to, while 
1 full hospital to another, 
suffering, and the agonized 
y wounded man to " take 
ke, or kill him," decided 
le order of the snrgeon in 
ust be taken elsewhere, as 
.ations prepared." I sent 
!e was a kind-hearted, in- 
!ent in his profession, and 
sing my extreme agitation, 
le, saying our wards were 
i'acant and unnsed ones, 
ns had failed to furnish 

First Essay. 57 

with proper bedding and blankets. Besides, a 
large number of the surgeons were absent, and 
the few left would not be able to attend to all 
the wounds at that late hour of the night. I 
proposed in reply that the convalescent men 
should be placed on the floor on blankets, or 
bed-sacks filled with straw, and the wounded 
take their place, and, purposely construing his 
silence into consent, gave the necessary orders, 
eagerly offering my services to dress simple 
wounds, and extolling the strength of my 
nerves. He let me have my way (may Ms ways 
be of pleasantness and his paths of peace), and 
so, giving Miss G. orders to make an unlimited 
supply of coffee, tea, and stimulants, armed 
with lint, bandages, castile soap, and a basin of 
warm water, I made my first essays in the sur- 
gical line. I had been spectator often enough 
to be skillful. The first object that needed my 
care was an Irishman. He was Seated upon a 
bed with his hands crossed, wounded in both 
arms by the same bullet. The blood was soon 
washed away, wet lint applied, and no bones 
being broken, the bandages easily arranged. 
" I hope that I have not hurt you much," I 

58 Results. 

said with some trepidation. "These are the 
first wounds that I ever dressed." 

" Sure they be the most illegant pair of 
hands that ever touched me, and the lightest," 
he gallantly answered. '^ And I am all right 

From bed to bed till long past midnight, the 
work continued. Fractured limbs were bathed, 
washed free from blood and left to the surgeon 
to set. The men were so exhausted by forced 
marches, lying in entrenchments and loss of 
sleep that few even awoke during the opera- 
tions. If aroused to take nourishment or 
stimulant they received it with closed eyes, 
and a speedy relapse into unconsciousness. 
The next morning, but few had any recollection 
of the events of the night previous. 

There were not as many desperate wounds 
among the soldieis brought in that night as 
usual. Strange to say, the ghastliness of 
wounds varied much in the different battles, 
perhaps from the nearness or distance of con- 
tending parties. One man was an exception 
and enlisted my warmest sympathy. He was a 
Marylander although serving in a Virginia 

Where tlie Weary are at Rest. 59 

company. There was such strength of resigna- 
tion in his calm blue eye. 

" Can you give me a moment ?" he said. 

" What shall I do for you ?" 

'' Give me some drink to revive me, that I do 
not die before the surgeon can attend to me." 

His pulse was strong but irregular, and tell- 
ing him that a stimulant might induce fever, 
and ought only to be administered with a doc- 
tor's prescription, I inquired where was he 

Right through the body. Alas ! 

The doctor's dictum was, ''No hope: give 
him anything he asks for ;" but five days and 
nights I struggled against this decree, fed my 
patient with my own hands, using freely from 
the small store of brandy in my pantry and 
* cheering him by words and smiles. The sixth 
morning on my entrance he turned an anxious 
eye on my face, the hope had died out of his, for 
the cold sweat stood in beads there, useless to 
dry, so constantly were they renewed. 

What comfort could I give ? Only silently 
open the Bible, and read to him without com- 
ment the ever-living promises of his Maker. 

6o "^In only Son, and my Motlier a widow*'' 

Glimpsea too of that abode where the " weary- 
are at rest." Tears stole down his cheek, but 

an only son," he said, "and my 
. widow. Go to her, if you ever get 
e, and tell her that I died in what I 
i defense of civil rights and liberties, 
rong. God alone knows. Say how 
?as nursed, and that I had all I 
cannot thank you, for I have no 
t we will meet up there.' ' He 
vard and closed his eyes, that never 
in upon this world. 

than this, while hospitals were still 
rgauized, soldiers were brought io 

or field, and placed in divisions of 
■pective of rank or state ; but soon 

had more comfortable quarters pro- 
t from the privates, and separate 
'ere also appropriated to men from 
ctions of the country. 
rere so many good reasons for this 
at explanations are hardly nec- 
!hief among them, was the ease 

Home Cares and Affections. 6i 

through which, under this arrangement, a man 
could be found quickly by reference to the 
books of each particular division. Schedules 
of where the patients of each State were quar- 
tered were published in the daily papers, and 
besides the materials furnished by government, 
States, and associations, were thus enabled to 
send satisfactory food and clothing for private 
distribution. Thus immense contributions, 
coming weekly from these sources, gave great 
aid, and enabled us to have a reserved store 
when government supplies failed. 

To those cognizant of these facts, it ap- 
peared as if the non-fighting people of the 
Confederacy had worked as hard and exercised 
as much self-denial as the soldiers in the field. 
There was an indescribable pathos lurking at 
times at the bottom of these heterogeneous 
home boxes, put up by anxious wives, mothers 
and sisters ; a sad and mute history shadowed 
forth by the sight of rude, coarse homespun 
pillow-cases or pocket handkerchiefs, adorned 
even amid the turmoil of war and poverty of 
means with an attempt at a little embroidery, 
or a simple fabrication of lace for trimming. 

62 If not my Son — then another Mother s. 

The silent tears dropped over these tokens will 
never be sung in song or told in story. The 
little loving expedients to conceal the want of 
means which each woman resorted to, thinking 
that if her loved one failed to benefit by the 
result, other mothers might reap the advan- 
tage, is a history in itself. 

Piles of sheets, the cotton carded and spun 
in the one room at home where the family per- 
haps lived, ate, and slept in the backwoods of 
Georgia ; bales of blankets called so by cour- 
tesy, but only the drawing-room carpets, the 
pride of the heart of thrifty housewives, per- 
haps their only extravagance in better days, 
but now cut up for field use. Dozens of pillow 
slips, not of the coarse product of the home 
loom, which would be too harsh for the cheek 
of the invalid, but of the fine bleached cotton 
of better days, suggesting personal clothing 
sacrificed to the sick. Boxes of woolen shirts, 
like Joseph's many-colored coat, created from 
almost every dressing-gown or flannel skirt in 
the country. 

A thousand evidences of the loving care and 
e^ " Hbor of the poor, patient ones at 

Sacred feelings and bad grammar, 63 

home, telling an affecting story that knocked 
hard at the gates of the heart, were the portals 
ever so firmly closed ; and with all these came 
letters written by poor ignorant ones who often 
had no knowledge of how such communications 
should be addressed. 

These letters, making inquiries concerning 
patients from anxious relatives at home, 
directed oftener to my office than my name, 
came in numbers, and were queer mixtures of 
ignorance, bad grammar, worse spelling and 
simple feeling. However absurd the style, the 
love that filled them chastened and purified 
them. Many are stored away, and though 
irresistibly ludicrous, are too sacred to print 
for public amusement. 

In them could be detected the prejudicea of 
the different sections. One old lady in upper 
Georgia wrote a pathetic appeal for a furlough 
for her son. She called me "My dear sir," 
while still retaining my feminine address, and 
though expressing the strongest desire for her 
son's restoration to health, entreated in moving 
accents that if his life could not be saved, that 
he should not be buried in "Ole Virginny 

64 Sad letters. 

dirty^'^ — ^rather a derogatory terai to apply to the 
sacred soil that gave birth to the presidents— 
the soil of the Old Dominion. 

Almost all of these letters told the same sad 
tale of destitution of food and clothing, even 
shoes of the roughest kind being either too ex- 
pensive for the mass or unattainable by the 
expenditure of any sum, in many parts of the 
country. For the first two years of the war, 
privations were lightly dwelt upon and cour- 
ageously borne, but when want and suffering 
pressed heavily as times grew more stringent, 
there was a natural longing for the stronger 
heart and frame to bear part of the burden. 
Desertion is a crime that meets generally witt. 
as much contempt as cowardice, and yet how 
hard for the husband or father to remain inac- 
tive in winter quarters, knowing that his wife 
and little ones were literally starving at home — 
not even at home^ for few homes were left. 

Our hospital had till now (the summer of 
1863), been appropriated to the Gulf States, 
when an order was issued to transfer and make 
it entirely Virginian. The cause of this change 
Was unknown, but highly agreeable, for the lat- 

Virginians. 65 

ter were the very best class of men in the field ; 
intelligent, manly, and reasonable, with more 
civilized tastes and some desire to conform to 
rules that were conducive to their health. Be- 
sides this, they were a hardier race, and were 
more inclined to live than die,— a very impor- 
tant taste in a hospital, — so that when the 
summer campaigns were over, the wards would 
be comparatively empty. The health of the 
army improved wonderfully after the first 
year's exposure had taught them to take proper 
precautions, and they had become accustomed 
to the roughnesses of field life. Time was given 
me, by this lightening of heretofore strenuous 
duties, to seek around and investigate the mys- 
teries of the arrangements of other hospitals 
beside my own, and see how my neighbors 
managed their responsibilities. While on the 
search for material for improvement, I found 
a small body of Marylanders, who, having had 
no distinct refuge awarded them, were sent 
wherever circumstances made it convenient to 
lodge them. 

There had been, from the breaking out of 
the war, much petty criticism, privately and 

66 Antagonism. 

publicly expressed, concerning the conduct and 
position of the Marylanders who had thrown 
their fortunes in the Confederate scale, and a 
great deal of ill-feeling engendered. Sister 
States have never been amicable, but it was not 
until my vocation drew my attention to the fact 
that I became aware of the antagonism exist- 
ing. The Virginians complained that the 
Marylanders had come south to install them- 
selves in the comfortable clerkships, and to 
take possession of the lazy places, while those 
filling them defended their position on the 
ground that efficient men were required in the 
departments, as well as the field, and that their 
superior capacity as clerks was recognized and 
rewarded without any desire, on their part, to 
shun field duty. They were unfortunate, as 
they labored under the disadvantage of harbor- 
ing, as reputed fellow citizens, every gambler, 
speculator or vagabond, who, anxious to escape 
military duty, managed to procure, in some 
way, exemption papers proving him a native 
of their so-considered neutral State. An ad- 
verse feeling towards them, report said, ex- 
tended even to the hospitals through which 

The wicked Marylanders. 67 

they were scattered, and I endeavored long, but 
unsuccessfully, to induce Dr. Moore (the Con- 
federate surgeon-general), to inaugurate some 
building for their use. He was averse to any 
arrangement of this kind, not from prejudice, 
but a conviction of the expense and trouble of 
small establishments of this nature. 

Not succeeding I made a i)ersonal applica- 
tion to the surgeon-in-chief of my own estab- 
lishment, to allow me to appropriate a certain 
number of my own wards to them, and with the 
ready courtesy he always accorded me, he im- 
mediately gave consent. 

In the decided objections of surgeons gener- 
ally to taking charge of Marylanders there 
was an element more amusing than offensive, 
and the dismay of the head of our hospital 
when he heard of my arrangements was ludi- 
crous in the extreme, and our opinions hardly 
reconcilable from our different standpoints. 
To a woman there was a touch of romance in 
the self-denial exercised, the bravery displayed 
and the hardships endured by a body of men, 
who were fighting for what was to them an ab- 
stract question, as far as they were concerned. 

68 Ttte wicked Marylanders, 

No one with any reasoning powers could sup- 
pose that Maryland in event of success could 
ever become a sister State of the confederacy. 
Then the majority of them were very young 
men, who, well born, well nurtured and 
wealthy, accustomed too to all the luxuries of 
life, served then, and even to the end as pri- 
vates, when less deserving men who had com- 
menced their career in the ranks had made in- 
terest and risen, as much through political 
favor as personal bravery. Luxuries received 
from other States for their soldiers, which 
though trifling in themselves were so gratify- 
ing to their recipients could not come to them ; 
the furlough, that El Dorado to the sick 
soldier, was the gold which could not be 
grasped, for there was no home that could 
be reached. Even letters, those electric con- 
ductors from heart to heart, came sparingly 
after long detention, often telling of the loss of 
the beloved at home, months after the grave 
had closed upon them. 

In antagonism to these ideas were the 
strong objections of our head surgeon to this 
^xx^^^^^^r\\, of mine, and they too were rea- 

Troublesome Customers. 6g 

sonable. The fact of there being an unusual 
amount of intelligence and independence among 
these men made them more difficult to mianage, 
as they were less submissive to orders. They 
were 'aware of how much they were entitled to, 
in food, surgical and medical attendance and 
general comfort ; and were not afraid to speak 
loudly and openly of neglect towards them or 
of incapacity in their rulers, so that whether 
ragged, helpless or sick they bore a striking 
resemblance to Hans Andersen' s leather soldier. 
That historical personage, though lame in the 
leg, minus an arm and eye, with a mashed head, 
all the gilt rubbed oflE of his back and lying in a 
gutter, held fiis own opinion and gave it on all 
occasions. The result of this was that there 
existed a pretty general objection to them as 
patients, as they were, to say the least, awk- 
ward customers. I might whisper an aside 
very low and confidential of sick men who 
should have followed the good old wholesome 
rule of "early to bed and early to rise" taking 
their physic obediently in the morning, but dis- 
appearing at night, — " dew in the morning and 
mist at night," — ^and I might also tell of passes 

70 Good Wine needs no Bmsk, 

Hitttit'd iind farloaghs leogtheoed when there 
WMH DO llKliting going on, all very wicked, bat 
I'rti'tHlnly nothing nnmanly or dishonorable, 
'i'tiiiy iiiwtT lingered around when honor called, 
«nd tlmii- nuMird needs no additional tribute 
ftimi my ImniWe pen. When sectional feelings 
bliiill httvo diod away and a fair nan-ation of the 
..piiiirederate struggle be written, they will find 
tlitiir lauwl loavea freah and green. 

But to i-eturn to domestic details. My new 

wards were prepared, freshly whitewashed, and 

adorned with cedar boiighs for the reception of 

the old line Maryland cavalry, and during their 

sojourn I experienced to its fullest extent the 

pleasure of ministering to the wants of grateful 

and satisfied soldiere. They brightened a short 

interval of laborioas and harassing labors that 

lasted over four years, and left a sonny spot for 

Memory to dwell on. After their departure 

many more of their State came, generally in- 

fo«i. — -_a difficulties still continued. It was 

give them their due share of atten- 

was the feeling of jealousy exist- 

tvalid required special attention, 

' to be a Marylander, though x>er- 


Annoyances. 71 

haps ignorant myself of the fact, many eyes 
watched me, and .complaints- were made to the 
nurses, and from them to the surgeons, till a 
report of partiality to them on my part made to 
the surgeon-in-chief, called forth a remonstrance 
on his part, and a request that all patients 
should be treated alike. Then came an unpleas- 
ant season of bickering and dissatisfaction, so 
that fearing I might be to blame in part, I 
studiously at last avoided inquiring to what 
corps a man belonged. 

A courier of Greneral A. P. Hill's, very 
badly wounded, had been invalided for some 
time, and desirous of offering him some induce- 
ment to bear his fate more patiently, I had invi- 
ted him to dine in my office, as soon as he 
could use his crutches. An invitation of this 
kind was often extended to men similarly situ- 
ated ; not that there were delicacies retained in 
my kitchen that did not reach the wards, but 
the request was a courtesy, and the food would 
be hot from the fire, and more comfortably 
served. Unfortunately he was a Marylander, 
and that some adverse report had been made 
was proved by an order attached to my window 

J2 Woman s ivit wins. 

daring the dny, explaioing that do patient 
would be pennitted to enter the matron's de- 
partment under any circnmstances, on penalty 
of panishment. This was nncaUed-for and 
galling, 80 I pnlled it down first, and then car- 
ried my complaint to the snrgeon-in-chief. No 
one erer applied to him in vain for either justice 
or conrtesy. He natorally was unwilling to 
conntermand this order positively, bat told me 
significantly that although the hospital was to 
a certain extent under the control of the sur- 
geon in charge, and subject to hie orders, the 
private rooms, as well as Sitchen and laundry 
attached to the matron's department were -cn- 
der my management. As a woman will natur- 
ally sacrifice her comfort, convenience, pleasure, 
and privacy to have her own way, the result 
must be evident. My sleepiDg-room became a 
dining-room, and for the future I made what 
use of it I pleased, returning every night to my 
quarters at the Secretary's. The next annoy- 
ance was the disappearance of all the Maryland 
patients ; their wai-ds being found empty one 
morning, and "no man living could tell where 
they had gone." However, when the fiesh-pots 

The Flesh-Pots of Egypt. 73 

I , ■ 

of the forsaken land were steaming at dinner- 
time, a small group revealed themselves of the 
missing tribes, and clustered around my win- 
dow with cup and plate. They belonged to the 
infantry, and seemed unable to bear their exile. 
This continued for a couple of days, the appli- 
cants increasing at each meal, till a second visit 
to Dr. M. with a representation of the impossibil- 
ity of feeding men for whom no rations had been 
drawn brought about a rescinding of the order 
for their exile, and from that time they and all of 
their corps who came to me were unmolested. 

Feminine sympathy being much more de- 
monstrative than masculine, particularly when 
compared with a surgeon's unresponsiveness, 
who inured to the aspects of suffering, has 
more control over his professional feelings, the 
nurses often summoned me when only the sur- 
geon was needed. One very cold night the same 
year, 1863, when sleeping at my hospital rooms, 
an answer was made to my demand as to who 
was knocking and what was wanted. The 
nurse from the nearest ward said, something 
was wrong with Fisher. Instructing him to 

74 Anxieties.. 

find the doctor immediately and hastily getting 
on some clothing I hurried to the scene, for 
Fisher was an especial favorite. He was quite 
a young man, of about twenty years of age, 
who had been wounded ten months previously 
very severely, high up on the leg near the hip, 
and who by dint of hard nursing, good food and 
plenty of stimulant had been given a fair chance 
for recovery. The bones of the broken leg had 
slipped together, then lapped, and nature 
anxious as she always is to help herself had 
thrown a ligature across, uniting the severed 
parts; but after some time the side curved 
out, and the wounded leg was many inches 
shorter than its fellow. He had been the object 
of sedulous care on the part of all — surgeonSj 
ward- master, nurse and matron, and the last 
effort made to assist him was by the construc- 
tion of an open cylinder of pasteboard, made 
in my kitchen, of many sheets of coarse brown 
paper, cemented together with very stiff paste, 
and baked around the stove-pipe. This was to 
clasp by its own prepared curve the deformed 
hip, and be a support for it when he was able 
to USA his crutches. 

No Hope in this World. y^ 

He had remained through all his trials, 
stout, fresh and hearty, interesting in appear- 
ance, and so gentle-mannered and uncomplain- 
ing that we all loved him. Supported on his 
crutches he had walked up and down his ward 
for the first time since he was wounded, and 
seemed almost restored. That same night he 
turned over and uttered an exclamation of pain. 

Following the nurse to his bed, and turning 
down the covering, a small jet of blood spurted 
up. The sharp edge of the splintered bone 
must have severed an artery. I instantly put 
my finger on the little orifice and awaited the 
surgeon. He soon came — took a long look and 
shook his head. The explanation was easy ; the 
artery was imbedded in the fleshy part of the 
thigh and could not be taken up. No earthly 
power could save him. 

There was no object in detaining Dr. . 

He required his time and his strength, and long 
I sat by the boy, unconsious himself that any 
serious trouble was apprehended. The hardest 
trial of my duty was laid upon me ; the necessity 
of telling a man in the prime of life, and full- 
ness of strength that there was no hope for him. 

76 Dead. 

It was done at last, and tile verdict received 
patiently and courageonsly, some directions 
given by Virhich his mother vrould be informed 
of his death, and then he turned his question- 
ing eyes upon my face. 

'' How long can I live ?" 

" Only as long as I keep my finger upon this 
artery." A pause ensued. God alone knew 
what thoughts hurried through that heart and 
brain, called so unexpectedly from all earth- 
ly hopes and ties. He broke the silence at 

'' You can let go — " 

But I could not. Not if my own life had 
trembled in the balance. Hot tears rushed to 
my eyes, a surging sound to my ears, and a 
deathly coldness to my lips. The pang of obey- 
ing him was spared me, and for the first and 
last time during the trials that surrounded me 
for four years, I fainted away. 

No words can do justice to the uncomplain- 
ing nature of the Southern soldier. Whether it 
arose from resignation or merely passive sub- 
mission, yet when shown in the aggregate in a 


State Peculiarities and Differences. yy 

hospital, it was sublime. Day after day, 
whether lying wasted by disease or burning up 
with fever, torn with wounds or sinking from 
debility, a groan was seldom heard. The 
wounded wards would be noisily gay with sing- 
ing, laughing, fighting battles o'er and o'er 
again, and playfully chaffing each other by de- 
crying the troops from different States, each 
man applauding his own. When listening to 
them one would suppose that the whole South- 
ern army with the exception of a few compa- 
nies from the speaker' s section of country, were 
cowards. The up-country soldiers, born in 
the same States as those they derided, went 
even further and decried '' them fellows from 
the seaboard, who let us do all the fighting." 
The Georgians would romance of how the 
South Carolinians laid down at such a battle, 
refusing to charge, and how they had to 
*' charge right over them." The Mississippians 
of the backwardness of the Tennessee troops, 
who ''would never go into action unless led 
by their commanding general." The Virgin- 
ians told bitter stories of the rowdyism of the 
Maryland volunteers, who were " always spree- 


78 Tar-Heel Tastes, 

ing it in the city, and dancing attendance on 
the women," and the North Carolinians caught 
it on all sides, though their record is undoubt- 
edly a most gallant one. Taken in the mass, 
the last were certainly most forlorn specimens, 
and their drawl was insufferable. Besides, they 
never under any circumstances would give me 
the satisfaction of hearing that they relished or 
even ate any food that was issued from my 
kitchen. " Say, can I have some sweet soup?" 
whined a voice from one bed, and ' ' Look here, 
can I have some sour soup?" came from an- 
other. The sweet soup upon explanation proved 
to be stirred custard ; the sour a mystery until 
the receipt was given. " You jist put a crock of 
buttermilk on the fire, and let it come to a bile ; 
then mix up the yaller of an egg with some 
corn flour to make a paste ; then punch off 
pieces of the dough, and bile them with the 
soup ; with lots of pepper and salt." The but- 
termilk when so tested by heat resolved itself 
into a sea of whey with a hard ball of curds in 
the center. I carried the saucepan to his bedside 
to show the results of his culinary directions ; 
but he merely shook his head and remarked 

Babies even give up Milk, 79 

carelessly that '*liis mammy's soup did not 
look like that." 

Many would not eat unless furnished with 
food to which they had been accustomed at 
home, and as unreasoning as brutes resisted 
nutriment and thus became weaker day after 
day ; and whatever was new to the eye or palate 
was received suspiciously. Liquids in the form 
of soups, tea or coflfee they turned from with 
disgust, so that the ordinary diet of invalids 
was inefficient in their case. Buttermilk seemed 
especially created by nature for wounded pa- 
tients ; they craved it with a drunkard's thirst, 
and great, strong men have turned away from 
all else and implored a drink of sweet milk. 
We had a very short supply of this towards the 
end of the war, and I remember a stalwart Ken- 
tuckian, one of Morgan's men, insisting upon 
the rare luxury of one cupfuU. He had been 
for many months on a raid far out of Confeder- 
ate limits, and returning slightly wounded, had 
no idea of the scarcity of forage that made our 
cows so dry. His pleading became really affect- 
ing, till at last rallying, T told him: ''Why 
man ! the very babies of the Confederacy have 

8o Our Little Romance. 

given up drinking milk, and here are you, six 
feet two, crying for it." 

Little poetical eflfusions were often thrust 
under my cabin door, and also notes of all 
kinds from my patients. Among them one day 
was a well- written and worded request from a 
young man who had been indisposed with that 
most hateful of all annoyances to soldiers — the 
itch ; that shirt of Nessus, which when once 
attached to the person clings there pertinaci- 
ously. It begged me when at leisure to give 
him an interview, telling me his ward, name, 
and bed. He proved to be educated, and a gen- 
tleman f roip the upper part of Alabama, which 
had been colonized by the best class of South 
Carolinians ; and he wished to enlist any influ- 
ence I might possess in his favor, to endeavor to 
get him a furlough. His story was interesting. 
Engaged to a young girl, the preparations made, 
the ring even bought (he wore it next his heart), 
and the marriage day fixed, they heard the first 
rumors of war, and patriotism urging him to 
enlist, the parents of his sweetheart naturally 
refused to allow him to consummate the engage- 
ment until Deace was restored. The desire to 

Loved and Lost, 8 1 

see her again became almost unbearable, and 
feeling sincere sympathy with him, and the 
hardship of the case, I tried but in vain to 
have him furloughed. The campaign of 1864 
had opened and every man was needed in the 

The finale of my story is a sad one, as are 
almost all stories in time of war. He was killed 
while repelling with his brigade the attack on 
Petersburg, and the little history confided to 
me resolved itself into a romance one night, 
that found shape and form : 


The bride's robe is ready, the bridesmaids are bid, 
The groom clasps the circlet, so cautiously hid ; 
For a home is now waiting a mistress to claim 
A lover, a wife, for his house, heart and name. 
There is peace in the homestead and mirth in the haU — 
The steed idly stands at his rack in the stall. 
The whole laud is teeming with prosperous life. 
For lost are all memories of carnage and strife. 
VTith rich golden harvest the ripe hills are blest. 
And God's providence stands revealed and confessed. 

>|e 3|( 3|( * ♦ 

No priest blessed that union, no ring wed that hand ; 
With anger and discord soon rang the whole land ; 
Through all its wide domains the dread tidings rang 
Of bloodshed. The lover was first in the van. 


82 The Conquering Hero comes again. . 

* * My own one I I leave thee, those dear aims unfold. 
Wouldst wed with the timid — the doubtful — the cold ? 
No union could bless till our country be free, 
So onward for liberty, glory — and thee 1 " 

^fi ^fi ^fi ^n ^^ 

Bight bravely fought he till sunlight lying low 

Discovered a field that had left him no foe ; 

But when in the flush of a victory gained, 

Deep in dreams of his love — his honor unstained, 

He wended his way to the home of his heart 

From her side ne'er to swerve, from her love ne'er to part, 

Hast'ning on with his tidings tie knew she would prize — 

His heart on his lips and his soul in his eyes ; 

Laid low by a shot courage could not repel 

At the feet of a mightier victor — he fell I 

And the bride that he left ? What needs it to say 

Her doom was a woman's, — to watch, wait ard pray. 

The heat of the struggle nerves man for the strife, 

But bitter at home is her battle of life, 

When far from the conflict, unheeded, alone. 

Her brain in a flame, but her heart like a stone, 

She patiently waits to hear one life is won. 

Or silently prays to say — His will be done I 

The whiskey barrel, as I have said before, 
and suppose I shall often say again, had been a 
bone of contention from the beginning, and as 
it afterward proved, continued so to the end. 
Liquor commanded an enormous price in 
Dixie, and often if its lovers had the means to 
procure it, the opportunity was wanting, as the 

TIu Hero again. 83 

hospital was some distance from Richmond. 
When first installed in my office, the desire to 
conciliate, and the belief that men generally had 
some conscience even on the whiskey question 
led me to yield to urgent solicitations for it 
from many quarters ; but the demands increased 
fearfully upon any concession. A reference to 
Dr. M. about this matter settled the heretofore 
open question. The doctor said the liquor was 
intended exclusively for the use of patients, 
and should only be used through a prescription 
accompanied by a written order. Also that I 
was personally responsible for the quantity con- 
fided to my care, and must each month produce 
the surgeon's receipts to balance with the num- 
ber of gallons drawn from the medical pur- 
veyor. There were at different times half a 
dozen surgeons and officials around, who abso- 
lutely made my life wretched by their importu- 
nities, and yet who could not be sent away 
except by preferring charges against them, and 
proving those charges ; for my hospital was a 
military organization. I did not feel inclined to 
brave the publicity of preferred charges, for I 
seemed to have no recognized rank, and if even 

84 Rats — Hopeless Inebriates. 

I could prove them, the complaints made would 
be ludicrously petty in detail, though distract- 
ing as mosquito bites in the aggregate. 

The modes adopted to outflank me were 
named "legion." Some of them can be re- 
called. A quart bottle of whiskey would be 
ordered by the oflBicer of the day for each ward, 
for night use, so that it would be ready at hand 
should any of the patients need this stimulant 
during the night. The next morning, on in- 
quiry being made, there had been no case 
requiring its use, but the bottles would be 
empty, and expostulation on my part be met 
with explanations that the rats (who were a 
very plague), had knocked all the bottles over. 
On refusing to honor any more demands of the 
same kind, not believing in the i*at story, the 
surgeon in charge would be appealed to, hear 
all sides, and favor none. This was just what I 
anticipated and wanted, for having, for the first 
few months of my occupation, lived in a state of 
active terror for fear of violating rules, however 
injurious the results of obeying, I recompensed 
myself from that time till the end of my sojourn 
by 9 V as I thought right, braving the 

What Constitutes a Lady ? 85 

consequences, and preferring to be attacked to 
attacking. One mode of annoying me was par- 
ticularly oflfensive — sending a negro boy with a 
cup and a simple request for whiskey, as if it 
was the most natural act in the world. At first 
a polite refusal would be written, but if this 
mode should have been persevered in, a j^rivate 
secretary would have been necessary ; so in 
time it was replaced by a curt "No." A few 
minutes later the boy would again stand before 
me with the same message, and this would 
occur half a dozen times consecutively. I did 
not believe in vicarious punishment, so could 
not make the messenger responsible — ^he was 
compelled to obey ; and sometimes, stung to 
irritation by this senseless pertinacity, I would 
write a note to the offending party, brief but 
sharp. The reply would be the same silly 
question I so often had to meet : ' ' Did Mrs. 

consider herself a lady when she wrote 

sach notes?" "No," was always the indig- 
nant answer. ' ' How could she be, when 
brought into contact with such elements ?" It 
was strange, with so little outward self-asser- 
tion, always dressed in Georgia homespun, 

86 The Hero again 

often the worse for wear, leather shoes, worsted 
gloves, and half the time with a skillet or coffee- 
pot in my hands, that all the common element 
around me should contest my right to a title 
to which I never aspired in words. 

This fact, which must have been patent to 
them from the active persecution it entailed, 
seemed to be a crying grievance. My life at 
my hospital quarters when relieved from care 
for the patients was exclusive, from habit, in- 
clination and prudence. Living a great part 
of my time away from all intercourse with my 
own sex, in a solitude that was unbroken after 
dark, it was better that no intimacies should 
be formed and no preferences shown ; and in an 
exposed position where Argus eyes were always 
watching, a woman could not be too careful. 

But still the wars of the whiskey barrel con- 
tinued. One day the men of one of the distant 
wards sent for me in the absence of their ward- 
master, and complained that the liquor issued 
for them never reached them. All concurred 
in this report, and said the champagne bottles 
in which it was kept were hid behind a certain 
vacant be' * whence they would be ab- 

— and again, 87 

stracted that night. A search on my part 
brought them to light, still full, although the 
hour of administering had long past. The 
ward-master was summoned, the full bottles 
exhibited, and expressing my surprise at the 
inhumanity and dishonesty of one I had here- 
tofore thought so honest, I warned him of the 
consequences that would result to him. His 
protestations were so earnest that he never 
tasted liquor, that I could not disbelieve him. 
What then had ''become of the quantity issued, 
had he sold it ?" 

The charge was met by indignant surprise, 
and then the truth began to dawn upon me. 
That he had been false to his charge and his 
patients was true, if even he had not been 
guilty of taking it, and I warned him that on 
my representing the matter to the proper 
authorities he would be sent to the Held. 
An hour after this conversation the surgeon 
of his ward entered my office with belligerent 

"Did you assert, Madam, that you intended 
sending my ward-master to the field?" 

" I said I intencieci laying the facts concern^ 

88 Military Law Declared, 

ing tlie disappearance of the liquor before the 
proper authorities." 

''I consider myself responsible, Madam, for 
the liquor used in my wards." 

"If you do, you fail to be sure that it 
reaches its destination, so I intend in future to 
see that it does." 

"If you mean that my ward-master drinks 
it, you are mistaken ; he does not take any 

" I know he does not," I answered quietly, 
" and I also know who does." 

He changed color, and passing him I walked 
into my little sanctum adjoining the office. To 
my astonishment he kicked back the door and 
also entered. 

"Doctor, this is my private room," \ said, 
"to which no one is admitted. Be kind enough 
to leave. ' ' 

"Not until you explain," he answered, 
throwing himself at full length upon the 

This was just far enough for him to venture. 
I threw back my window, and called to the sen- 
^ " \(^^ lip a sergeant and file of the guard, 

Five Minutes Grace. 89 

In a few minutes the ring of their muskets out- 
side sounded, and taking out my watch, I 
placed it on the table by him. 

■' I will give you five minutes," I said, '^ to 
leave my room. If you are not gone by that 
time, commissioned officer as you are, and gen- 
tleman as you ought to be, I will have you 
taken to the guard-house, and then explain this 
matter to the surgeon-general." 

He waited a minute or two, soliloquizing 
audibly that I must fancy myself the Secretary 
of War, and he would make me know my 
position, but soon made up his mind that dis- 
cretion was the better part of valor, and left. 
Proper measures were no doubt taken to punish 
such conduct, for though I made no complaint, 
there were no secrets in a hospital, and after a 
few weeks he disappeared, sent no doubt to 
that Botany Bay — " the front.'" He took a 
gallant leave of his associates, hinting that his 
talents demanded a wider field of action than a 

But the tables were about to be turned. 
Not forever would I be allowed to carry war 
into the enemy's country, or be the sole de- 

90 The Tables Turned, 

fender of that friend by whom I had stood so 
gallantly. The whiskey barrel was destined 
after all to be turned into a weapon of offense. 

The bold man who thus declared hostilities, 
and by a coup-de-guerre changed the whole 
nature of the war from offensive to defensive 
tactics, had been bar-keeper in a Georgia tav- 
ern, afterwards a clerk in a Macon dispensary, 
in order to escape field duty. Coming to Rich- 
mond he passed the board of surgeons by a 
process known only to themselves, which often 
rejected good practitioners, and gave appoint- 
ments to apothecary boys. 

Fate sent him to our hospital, where the 
brilliant idea struck him to check thefts of 
whiskey in the feminine department. He inau- 
gurated his plans by ordering a pint of it for 
a single patient. 

The etiquette of a hospital enjoins that no 
one but the chief surgeon shall dispute an in- 
ferior surgeon's prescription, so I carried this 
generous order to the chief, received his instruc- 
tions not to exceed the usual "from two to 
four ounces" without being served with a 
formal rec"'-^'*^'"'* signed by the surgeon in 

Concise y but not Clear. 91 

^m^^m ^ ■ I ■ ■ — " — ~ ' ~ ~" " 

charge, and so I wrote this gentleman (a con- 
tract surgeon) a few lines, courteously explan- 
atory of my reasons for so cutting him down. 
This matter being arranged, I forgot all about 
it, but the next day the blow was struck ; the 
following note being handed to me : 

'^Hospital, Richmond, April 3, 1864. 
" The Chief Matron : — Is respectfully asked 
to state the amount of water used as compared 
with amount of whiskey in making toddy. 
Also -if strength of toddy has been uniform 
since January 1st, 1863. Also if any change 
has taken place in diluting within the same 
period. She will also state what the change 
has been ; also when made, and by whose 
authority. Respectfully, 


''Assistant Surgeon in charge." 

These questions, if even he had any right to 
ask them (which he had not), were simply ab- 
surd. With hundreds of men requiring differ- 
ent drinks many times each day, ordered by 
numerous surgeons, prepared to suit different 
stages of disease and palate, no hour bringing 

92 A Storm Brewing. 

the same orders, how coald any kind of a cor- 
rect statement be made, even if I was willing to 
make it ? But there was a great deal of amnse- 
ment in the idea of letting him suppose he had 
alarmed me. Perhaps, as the day was very 
wet, and the wards rather empty, we might 
enact a small comedy ; so I sat down and 
answered in full, respectfully, feeling very 
charitably that he was welcome to all the infor- 
mation he could extract from the five closely- 
written sheets of foolscap I despatched him. 

In this document, polite, officially formal 
and as officially obscure, I thought I had suc- 
ceeded in showing my correspondent that hia 
questions could not be answered satisfactorily, 
but that I was much alarmed at his asking 
them. That I did not succeed in regard to his 
first inquiry was proved by the following, which 
came after an hour's delay. 

" Hospital, April 3rd, 1864. 

"Chief Matron; — Is respectfully called 
upon to state what amount of whiskey has been 
given to each patient when amount has not 
been stated or expressed by surgeon, or assist- 
ant surge"" nnon the rolls, but instead 

Diplomatic Correspondence. 93 

'whiskey three times a day,' and shown upon 
the rolls which /send you, 



"Assistant Surgeon in charge." 

No solemn pages greeted him in answer this 
time. My rejoinder was concise and to the 

"Hospital, April 3rd, 1864. 
" The Chief Matron regrets that she is too 
busily engaged to give any more voluminous 
explanations, being at this moment up to her 
elbows in gingerbread." 

Then the sleeping lion was roused, for 
almost instantly the reply was brought me, and 
an alarming finale it was. 

"Hospital, April 3rd, 1864. 
" Chief Matron : Is hereby informed that if 
she willfully and contumaciously refuses to give 
me such information as I demand, and she is 
possessed of, thereby obstructing the duty I 
feel myself called upon to perform, she must be 

94 Confusion of Tenses, ^ 

prepared to meet the responsibility upon ymir 
own shoidders. 



" Assistant Surgeon in charge." 

A serious but sharp rejoinder sent to this 
gentleman, trying to show him that he had . no 
authority to propound these questions, closed 
this paper war ; and I had forgotten all about 
the matter, when the correspondence was for- 
warded me, folded in official style, and in- 
dorsed at the surgeon-general's office on the 
back '' Referred respectfully to the surgeon-in- 
chief Hospital," through whose hands alone 

official etiquette required all reports should 
I)ass to heads of departments. He had courte- 
ously sent it to me, and I as courteously sent it 
to the forwarder. Seeing that he had failed to 
interest the surgeon-general in the case, he 
drew up a statement of the affair, accusing me 
of disrespect (based upon the gingerbread let- 
ter particularly) to my superior officer^ send- 
ing it accompanied by all the obnoxious notes 
to tb^ the military governor of the de- 


How History is made. 95 

partment of Henrico, who I heard read it all 
with some amazement — ^if not interest. Back, 
however, it came shortly again without re- 
sponse, and by this time some of the waggish 
surgeons having been made confidants in the 
matter, persuaded my disappointed friend to 
try the secretary of war ; and at one of the 
charming breakfasts which his wife was in the 
habit of giving, I saw him with a smile draw 
from his pocket a package I knew well by that 
time, and made my escape just in time to avoid 
hearing it all over again. As I mounted the 
ambulance in waiting to take me to my hospi- 
tal, I heard the peals of laughter that greeted 
the reading of those unlucky documents. 

My acquaintance with myxorrespondent was 
never renewed. He kept out of my way. The 
only time I ever saw him again was the day he 
left and I viewed his pantaloons of Georgia 
clay embrowning the landscape adown the hill. 

A better educated class of surgeons was 
sent to fill fortunate vacancies, and this change 
made my duties more agreeable. There would 
have been nothing disagreeable in the occupa- 
tion I had assumed if a proper discretion had 

g6 * Non-intervention, 

been exercised, or proper rules enforced, so that 
no demands should have been made upon thp 
matron for that which she had no right to give. 
These demands were the beginning and end of 
my troubles ; for in all else except complying 
with them I tried hard not to exceed the duties 
of my position, and succeeded so well that no 
temptation could induce me to interfere in any 
way with medical treatment, not even to offer- 
ing the slightest alleviation to suffering men. 
During my early initiation, when quite a novice, 
yielding to a poor fellow' s prayer for something 
to wash a mouth frightfully excoriated by 
calomel I gave him a few drops of myrrh in 
water, I suffered the annoyance of seeing it 
contemptuously tossed out of the window by 
the assistant surgeon. From that day I made 
up my mind to resist all such impulses and per- 
severed in the same line of conduct to the end. 

But antagonism was not always the rule. 
There were many sensible, kind-hearted effi- 
cient men among, the surgeons who gave their 
time and talents generously to further the com- 
fort and well-being of their patients, — men who 
w' woik hand in hand with them,. 



Amende, 97 

the nurse with the doctor, and listen kindly 
and respectfully to my suggestions, if they 
were not calculated to benefit science. As I 
have said, the chief surgeon was an unfailing 
refuge in times of distress, and whenever bro- 
ken down by fatigue and small miseries I 
sought his advice and assistance, the first was 
not only the very best that could be secured, 
but unlike most of its kind, palatable ; and the 
last entirely efficient. The surgeon too of my 
hospital though eccentric and wanting in de- 
cision of character, sustained my authority 
during sore trials as ably as he could ; for the 
power delegated to him was not great, and his 
dread of responsibUity a disease. He never 
intended to be unjust or unkind, but self-exam- 
ination and investigation of characters around 
him was not his forte. He certainly withstood 
a vast amount of complaint directed against his 
chief matron ; and while we had our pleasant 
little difficulties occasionally, that we still pre- 
served amicable relations was due more to his 
amiable temper than my proper submission. I 
think he had many faults, but I am sure I had 
more, and if the popular remark which has 




98 Sadness and Doubts. 


since become a maxim, that a man must be very- 
clever to "keep a hotel" be true, it certainly 
ought to apply to one who can govern a hospi- 

Now during the summer of 1864 began what 
is really meant by " war," for privations had to 
be endured which tried body and soul, and 
which temper and patience had to meet un- 
flinchingly day and night. A growing want of 
confidence was forced upon the mind ; and with 
doubts which though unexpressed were felt as 
to the ultimate success of our cause, there came 
into play the antagonistic qualities of human 

The money worthless, and a weak Con- 
gress and weaker financier failing to make it 
much more valuable than the paper it was 
printed on ; the former refusing to the last to 
raise the hospital fund to meet the depreciation. 
Everything furnished through government con- 
tracts of the very poorest description, perhaps 
necessarily so from the difficulty of finding any 

The railroads constantly cut so that what 

Sorrow and Privation, 99 

had been carefully collected in the country in 
the form of poultry and vegetables by hospital 
agents would be rendered unfit for use by the 
time the connection would be restored. The 
inducements for theft in this season of scarcity 
of food and clothing. The pathetic appeals 
made for the coarsest meal by starving men, all 
wore upon the health and strength of those 
exposed to the strain, and made life weary 
and hoi)eless. The rations became so small 
about this time that every ounce of flour was 
valuable, and there were days when it was 
necessary to refuse with aching heart and 
brimming eyes the request of decent, manly- 
looking fellows for a piece of dry corn-bread. 
If given it would have robbed the rightful 
owner of part of his scanty rations. After the 
flour or meal had been made into bread, it was 
almost ludicrous to see with what painful solici- 
tude Miss G. and myself would count the rolls, 
or hold a council over the pans of corn-bread, 
measuring with a string how large we could 
aflford to cut the squares, to be apportioned to 
a certain number. Sometimes when from the 
causes above stated, the supplies were not 

lOO Sorrow and Privation, 

issued as usual, invention had to be taxed to an 
extreme, and every available article in our pan- 
try brought into requisition. We had con- 
stantly to fall back upon dried apples and rice 
for convalescing appetites, and herb-tea and 
arrowroot for the very ill. There was only 
one way of making the last at all palat- 
able, and that was by drenching it with 
whiskey. Long abstinence in the field from 
everything that could be considered, even 
then, a delicacy, had exaggerated the fancy of 
sick men for any particular article of food 
they wanted into a passion ; and they begged 
for such peculiar dishes that surgeons and 
nurses might well be puzzled. The greatest 
difficulty in granting these desires • was that 
tastes became contagious, and whatever one 
patient asked for, his neighbor and the one 
next to him, and so on throughout the wards, 
craved also, and it was impossible to decide 
upon whom to draw a check. No one unac- 
quainted with our domestic relations can appre- 
ciate the difficulties under which we labored. 
Stoves in any degree of newness or usefulness 
we did not have ; they were rare and expensive 


No Change, loi 

luxuries. As may be supposed, they were not 
the most convenient articles in the world to 
pack away in blockade-running vessels ; and 
the trouble and expense of land transportation 
also seriously affected the quality of the wood 
for fuel, furnished us. Timber which had been 
condemned heretofore as unfit for use, light, 
soggy and decayed, became the only quality 
available. The bacon too, cured the first two 
years of the war, when salt commanded an 
enormous price, in most cases was spoilt, from 
the economy used in preparing that article ; 
and bacon was one of the sinews of war. We 
kept up brave hearts, and said we could eat the 
simplest fare, and wear the coarsest clothing, but 
there was absolutely nothing to be bought that 
did not rank as a luxury. It was wasting time 
and brain to attempt to economize, so we bent 
to the full force of that wise precept, '' Suffi- 
cient for the day is the evil thereof." There 
really was a great deal of heroism displayed 
when looking back, at the calm courage with 
which I learned to count the number of mouths 
to be fed daily, and then contemplating the 
food, calculate not how much but how little 

1 02 Educated Rats. 

each man could be satisfied with. War may- 
be glorious in all its panoply and pride, whea 
in the field opposing armies meet and strive 
for, victory ; but battles fought by starving the 
sick and wounded— by crushing in by maia 
force day by day all the necessities of human 
nature, make victories hardly worth the name. 
Another of my local troubles were the rats, 
who felt the times, and waxed strong and cun- 
ning, defying all attempts to entrap them, 
and skillfully levying blackmail upon us day 
by day, and night after night. Hunger had 
educated their minds and sharpened their 
reasoning faculties. Other vermin, the change 
of seasons would rid us of, but the coldest day 
in winter, and the hottest in summer, made no 
apparent difference in their vivacious strategy. 
They examined traps with the air of connois- 
seurs, sometimes springing them from a safe 
position, and kicked over the bread spread with 
butter and strychnine to show their contempt 
for such underhand warfare. The men related 
wonderful rat-stories not well enough authenti- 
cated to put on record, but their gourmands 
ate all the poultices applied daring the night 

m u mti. -tf 

Rat Surgeon. 103 

to the sick, and dragged away the pads stuflfed 
with bran from under the arms^ and legs of the 

They even performed a surgical operation 
which would have entitled any of them to pass 
the board. A Virginian had been wounded in 
the very center of the instep of his left foot. 
The hole made was large, and the wound 
sloughed fearfully around a great lump of 
proud flesh which had formed in the center like 
an island. The surgeons feared to remove this 
mass, as it might be connected with the nerves 
of the foot, and lock-jaw might ensue. Poor 
Patterson would sit on his bed all day gazing at 
his lame foot and bathing it with a rueful face, 
which had brightened amazingly one morning 
when I paid him a visit. He exhibited it with 
great glee, the little island gone, and a deep 
hollow left, but the wound washed clean and 
looking healthy. Some skillful rat surgeon 
had done him this good service whUe in the 
search for luxuries, and he only knew that on 
awaking in the morning he had found the 
operation performed. I never had but one per- 
sonal interview with any of them. An ancient 

104 Novel style of catching tJiem, 

gray gentleman, who looked a hundred years 
old, both in years and depravity, would eat 
nothing but butter, when that article was twenty 
dollars a pound ; so finding all means of getting 
rid of him fail through his superior intelli- 
gence, I caught him with a fish-hook, well 
baited with a lump of his favorite butter, 
dropped into his domicile under the kitchen 
.floor. Epicures sometimes managed to entrap 
them and secure a nice broil for supper, declar- 
ing that their flesh was superior to squirrel 
meat ; but never having tasted it, I cannot add 
my testimony to its merits. They staid with 
us to file last, npr did I ever observe any signs 
of a desire to change their politics. Perhaps 
some curious gourmet may wish a recipe for the 
best mode of cooking them. The rat must be 
skinned, cleaned, his head cut oflE and his body 
laid open upon a square board, the legs 
stretched to their full extent and secured upon 
it with small tacks, then baste with bacon fat 
and roast before a good fire quickly like can- 
vas-back ducks. 

One of the remarkab-e features of the war 

No Personal Animosities. 105 

Tvas the perfect good nature with which the 
rebels discussed their foes. In no instance up 
to a certain period did I hear of any remark 
that savolred of personal hatred. They fought 
for a cause and against a power, and would 
speak in depreciation of a corps or brigade ; 
but ''they fit us, and we fit them," was the 
whole story generally, and till the blowing up 
of the mine at Petersburgh there was a gay, in- 
souciant style in their descriptions of the war 
scenes passing under their observation. But 
after that time the sentiment changed from an 
innate feeling the Southern soldiers had that 
mining was "a mean trick," as they expressed 
it. They were not suflSciently versed in mili- 
tary tactics to recognize that stratagem is fair in 
war, and what added to their indignation was 
the pouring in of negro soldiers when the breach 
was effected. Incensed at the surprise, they 
craved foes worthier of their steel, not caring to 
rust it in the black cloud that issued from the 
crater. The men had heretofore been calm and 
restrained, particularly before a woman, never 
using oaths or improper language, but the 
wounded that were brought in from that fight 

io6 The Bitter Blood, 

emulated the talents of Uncle Toby's army in 
Flanders, and eyes gleamed, and teeth clenched 
as they showed me the locks of their muskets, 
to which the blood and hair still clung, when 
after firing, without waiting to re-load, they 
had clenched the barrels and fought hand to 
hand. If their accounts could be relied upon, 
it was a gallant strife and a desperate one, and 
ghastly wounds bore testimony of the truth of 
many a tale then told. 

Once again the bitter blood showed itself, 
when, after a skirmish, the foe cut the rail 
track, so that the wounded could not be 
brought to the city. Of all the monstrous 
crimes that war sanctions, this is surely the 
most sinful. Wounded soldiers without the 
shelter of a roof, or the comfort of a bed of 
straw, left exposed to sun, dew, and rain, with 
hardly the prospect of a warm drink or decent 
food for days, knowing that comfortable quar- 
ters awaited them, all ready prepared, but ren- 
dered useless by what seems an unnecessarily 
cruel act. Was it any wonder that their habit- 
ual indifference to suffering gave way, and the 
soldier cursed loud and deep at a causeless inhu- 

A Common Sight, 107 

manity, which, if practiced habitually, is worse 
than savage? When the sufferers at last 
reached the hospital, their wounds had not 
been attended to for three days, and the sight 
of them was shocking. 

Busy in my kitchen, seeing that the supply 
of necessary food was in preparation, I was 
spared the sight of much of the suffering, but 
on passing among the ambulances going in and 
out of the wards I descried seated up in one of 
them a dilapidated figure, both hands holding 
his head which was tied up with rags of all 
descriptions. He appeared to be incapable of 
talking, but nodded and winked and made 
motions with head and feet. In the general 
confusion he had been forgotten, so I took him 
under my especial charge. He was taken into 
a ward, seated on a bed, while I stood on a 
bench to be able to unwind rag after rag from 
around his head. There was no sensitiveness 
on his part, for his eye was merry and bright, 
but when the last came oflf, what a sight ! 

Two balls had passed through his cheek and 
jaw within half an inch of each other, knock- 
ing out the teeth on both sides and cutting the 

io8 A Looking'Glass Wanted, 

tongue in half. The inflammation caused the 
swelling to be immense, and the absence of all 
previous attendance, in consequence of the de- 
tention of the wounded until the road could 
be mended, had aggravated the symptoms. 
There was nothing fatal to be apprehended, but 
fatal wounds are not always the most trying. 
The sight of this was the most sickening my 
long experience had ever seen. The swollen 
lips turned out, and the mouth filled with 
blood, matter, fragments of teeth from amidst 
all of which the maggots in countless numbers 
swarmed and writhed, while the smell generated 
by this putridity was unbearable. Castile soap 
and soft sponges soon cleansed the offensive 
cavity, and he was able in an hour to swallow 
some nourishment he drew through a quill. 
The following morning I found him reading the 
newspaper, and entertaining every one about 
him by his abortive attempts to make himself 
understood, and in a week he actually suc- 
ceeded in doing so. The first request distinctly 
enunciated was that he wanted a looking-glass 
to see if his sweetheart would be willing to kiss 
him when she saw him. We all assured him 

Vaccination. 109 

that she would not be worthy of the name if 
she would not be delighted to do so. 

An order come about this time to clear out 
the lower wards for the reception of improperly- 
vaccinated patients, who soon after arrived in 
great numbers. They were diead fully aMcted 
objects, many of them with sores so deep and 
thick upon arms and legs that amputation had 
to be resorted to, to preserve life. As fast as 
the eruption would be healed in one spot, it 
would break out in another, for the blood 
seemed entirely poisoned. The unfortunate 
victims bore the infliction as they had borne 
everything else painful — with calm patience and 
indifference to suffering. Sometimes a favor- 
able comparison would be made between this 
and the greater loss of limbs. No one who 
was a daily witness to their agonies from thi^ 
cause, can help feeling indignant at charges 
made of inhumanity to Federal prisoners of 
war, who were vaccinated with the same viras ; 
and while on this subject, though it may be 
outside of the recollections of hospital life, I 
cannot help stating that on no occasion was the 
question of rations and medicines to be issued 

I lo Prisoners of War, 

for Federal prisoners discussed in my presence ; 
and circumstances placed me where I had the 
best opportunity of hearing the truth (living 
with the wife 6f a Cabinet officer) ; that good 
evidence was not given, that the Confederate 
commissary-general, by order of • the govern- 
ment issued to them the same rations it gave its 
soldiers in the field, and only when reductions 
of food had to be made in our army, were they 
also made in the prisons. The question of sup- 
plies for them was an open and a vexed one 
among the people generally, and angry and 
cruel things were said ; but every one cogniz- 
ant of facts in Richmond knows that even 
when Gen. Lee's army lived on corn-meal at 
times that the prisoners still received their 
usual rations. At a cabinet meeting when the 
Commissary-general Northrop advocated put- 
ting the prisoners on the half rations which our 
soldiers had been obliged to content themselves 
with for some time. Gen. Lee opposed him on 
the ground that men animated by companion- 
ship and active service could be satisfied with 
less than prisoners with no hope and leading an 
inactive life. Mr. Davis sided with him, and the 

Unwelcome Visitors, 1 1 1 

question was settled that night, although in his 
anger Mr. Northrop accused Gen. Lee of show- 
ing this consideration because his son was a 
prisoner in the enemy' s lines. 

My hospital was now entirely composed of 
Virginians and Marylanders, and the nearness 
to the homes of the former entailed upon me an 
increase of care in the shape of wives, sisters, 
cousins, aunts, and whole families including 
the historic baby at the breast. They came in 
troops, and hard as it was to know how to dis- 
pose of them, it was harder to send them away. 
Sometimes they brought their provisions with 
them, but not often, and even when they did 
there was no place for them to cook their food. 
It must be remembered that everything was 
reduced to the lowest minimum, even fuel. 
They could not remain all day in the wards 
with men around them, and if even they were 
so willing, the restraint on wounded, restless 
patients who wanted to throw their limbs about 
with freedom during hot summer days, was un- 

Grenerally their only idea of kindness was 
giving sick men what food they would take in 

112 An Unexpected Gathering, • 

any quantity and of every quality, and in the 
furtherance of their views they were pugna- 
cious in the extreme. Whenever rules circum- 
scribed their plans they abused the government, 
then the hospital and then myself. Many ludi- 
crous incidents happened daily, and I have 
often laughed heartily at seeing the harassed 
ward-master heading away a pertinacious 
female who failing to get past him at one door 
would try the three others perse veringly. They 
seemed to think it a pious and patriotic duty 
not to be afraid or ashamed under any circum- 
stances. One sultry day I found a whole 
family accompanied by two young lady friends 
seated around a wounded man's bed ; as I 
passed through six hours later, they held the 
same position. 

'' Had not you all better go home?" I said 

'' We came to see my cousin," answered one 
very crossly. " He is wounded." 

" But you have been with him all morning, 
and that is a restraint upon the other men. 
Come again to-morrow." 

^ tion was held, but when it ceased 

Counterchecks. 1 1 3 

no movement was made, the older ones only- 
lighting their pipes and smoking in silence. 

*'Will you come back to-morrow, and go 

''No! You come into the wards when you 
please, and so will we !" 

" But it is my duty to do so. Besides, I al- 
ways ask permission to enter, and never stay 
longer than fifteen minutes at a time." 

Another unbroken silence, which was a ti?al 
to any patience left, and finding no movement 
made, I handed some clothing to a patient near. 

' ' Here is a clean shirt and drawers for you, 
Mr. Wilson ; put them on as soon as I get out 
of the ward." 

I had hardly reached my kitchen, when the 
whole procession, pipes and all, passed me sol- 
emnly and angrily ; but for many days, and 
even weeks, there was no ridding the place of 
this large family connection. Their sins were 
manifold. They overfed their relative who was . 
recovering from an attack of typhoid fever, and 
even defiantly seized the food for the purpose 
from under my very nose. They marched on 
me en Toasse at ten o'clock at night, with a 


114 Checkmated, 

requisition from the boldest for sleeping quar- 
ters. The steward was summoned, and said 
" he didn't keep a hotel," so in a weak moment 
of pity for their desolate state, I imprudently 
housed them in my laundry. They entrenched 
themselves there for six days, making preda- 
tory incursions into my kitchen during my 
temporary absences, ignoring Miss G. com- 
pletely. The object of their solicitude recov- 
ered and was sent to the field, and finding my 
writs of ejectment were treated with contempt- 
uous silence, I sought an explanation. The 
same spokeswoman alluded to above, met me 
half-way. She said a battle was imminent she 
had heard, and she had determined to remain, 
as her husband might be wounded. In the 
ensuing press of business she was forgotten, 
and strangely enough, her husband was brought 
in with a bullet in his neck the following week. 
The back is surely fitted to the burden, so I 
contented myself with retaking my laundry, 
and letting her shift for herself, while a whole 
month slipped away. One morning my arrival 
was gr'^-*-'=' — ith a general burst of merriment 
fi*or I met, white and black. Ex- 

Unexpected and Unwelcome Visitor. 115 

perience had made me sage, and my first ques- 
tion was a true shot, right in the center. 

"Where is Mrs. Daniells?" (she who had 
always been spokeswoman). 

'' In ward G. She has sent for you two or 
three times." 

" What is the matter now 1" 

" You must go and see." 

There was something going on, either amus- 
ing or amiss. I entered ward G, and walked 
up to Daniells' bed. One might have heard a 
pin drop. 

I had supposed, up to this time, that I had 
been called upon to bear and suffer every an- 
noyance that humanity and the state of the 
country could inflict ; but here was something 
most unexpected in addition ; for lying com- 
posedly on her husband's cot (he had relin- 
quished it for the occasion), lay Mrs. Daniells, 
and her baby, just two hours old. 

The conversation that ensued is not worth 
repeating, being more of the nature of solilo- 
quy. The poor little wretch had ventured into a 
bleak and comfortless portion of the world, and 
its inhuman mother had not provided a rag to 

1 1 6 W/tat sitall I do with it ? 

cover it. No one could scold her at such a 
time, however ardently they might desire to do 
so. But what was to be done? I went in search 
of my chief surgeon, and our conversation 
although didactic was hardly satisfactory on 
the subject. 

''Doctor, Mrs. Daniells has a baby. She is 
in ward G. What shall I do with her 1" 

"A baby! Bless me! Ah indeed! You 
must get it some clothes." 

*' What must I do with her r 

*'Move her to an empty ward and give her 
som6 tea and toast." 

This Was offered, but Mrs. D. said she would 
wait until dinner-time and have some bacon and 

The baby was a sore annoyance. The ladies 
of Richmond made up a wardrobe, each con- 
tributing some article, and at the end of the 
month, Mrs D., the child, and a basket of 
clothing and provisions were sent to the cars 
v\rith a return ticket to her home in western 
Virginia. My feelings of relief can be imagined. 
But the end had not come. An hour after the 
^x£^^^'^'^'''=^ had started with them, it stopped at 

As Godmother. 117 

my kitchen door apparently empty, and the 
black driver with a grin half of delighted mis- 
chief and half of fear silently lifted a bundle 
out and deposited it carefully upon my kitchen 
dresser. Mrs. Daniells' baby! 

The unnatural woman had deserted it, leav- 
ing it in the railroad depot, but the father for- 
tunately was still with us and to him I ap- 
pealed. A short furlough was obtained for 
him, and he was despatched home with his em- 
barrassing charge and a quart of milk. He was 
a wretched picture of helplessness, but had I 
sent again for the mother I should never have 
got rid of her. It may be remarked in passant 
that she was not wholly ungrateful, for the 
baby was named after me. 

There were no means of keeping the rela- 
tions of patients from coming to them. There 
had been rules made to meet their invasion, but 
it was impossible to carry them out, as in the 
instance of a wife wanting to remain with her 
husband ; and besides even the better class of 
people looked upon the comfort and care of a 
hospital as a farce. They resented the deten- 
tion there of men who in many instances could 

1 1 8 Home-sickness. 

lie in bed and point to their homes within sight, 
and argued that they would have better atten- 
tion and food if allowed to go their families. 
That maladie du pays called commonly nostal- 
gia, the home-sickness which wrings the heart 
and impoverishes the blood, killed many a 
brave soldier ; and the matron who day by day 
had to stand helpless and powerless by the bed 
of the sufferer, knowing that a week's furlough 
would make his heart sing for joy, and save his 
wife from widowhood, learned the most bitter 
lesson of endurance that could be taught. 

This home-sickness recognized no palliation. 
However carefully the appetite might be pam- 
pered, or stimulants prepared and given, the 
food never nourished, the drink never strength- 
ened ; the decay would be gradual, but death 
was inevitable. Perhaps when recovery seemed 
hopeless, a statement of the case might pro- 
cure a furlough from the examining board of 
surgeons, but the patient would then be too 
weak and low to profit by the concession. 
It was wonderful to see how long the poor 
broken machine would hold out in some cases. 
For m-^ ' ' ^ave watched a victim, helpless, 

Sprifig Operations. 119 

hopeless, and motionless, simply receive into 
his mouth daily a few spoonfuls of nourishment, 
making no other movement, the skin barely 
covering the bones, and the skeleton of the face 
as sharply defined as it might have been days 
after dissolution. The answer to cheering words 
seldom exceeding a slight movement of the eye- 
lids. Towards the end of the war, this deten- 
tion of men who could have been furloughed at 
first, and some other abuses were reformed by 
allowing a board to be convened of three of the 
oldest surgeons attached to the hospital, who 
had authority to dispose of such cases without 
deferring to higher powers. There had been so 
much imposition practiced by men desirous of 
getting furloughs, and so many abuses had 
crept in despite the stringency of rules, that 
severity seemed necessary. 

The spring campaign of 1864 again opened 
with the usual " On to Richmond." Day after 
day and night after night would the sudden 
explosion of cannon boom upon the air. The 
enemy were always coming, and curiosity 
seemed to have iisurpe4 tjie place of fe^i* 

I20 Unpleasant Truths. 

among the women. In the silence of night the 
alarm bells would suddenly peal out, till the 
order to ring them at any sign of danger was 
modified to a command to sound them only in 
case of positive attack. The people became so 
accustomed to the report of fire-arms, that they 
scarcely inteiTupted their conversation at cor- 
ners of the streets to ask in what direction the 
foe was advancing, or if there was any foe at all. 

There was such entire reliance upon the 
military vigilance that guarded the city, and 
former attacks had been so promptly repelled, 
that whatever was ultimately to be the result of 
the war, no one trembled then for Richmond. 
So the summer of 1864 passed, and early in 
September our hearts were gladdened by the 
tidings that the exchange of prisoners was to be 
renewed. The sick and wounded of our hospi- 
tal (but few in number just then), were trans- 
ferred to other quarters, and the wards put in 
order to receive our men from Northern prisons. 

Can any pen or pencil do justice to those 
squalid pictures of famine and desolation? 
Those gaunt, lank skeletons with the dried yel- 
low flesh -^---^--^to bones enlarged by damp- 

Cast your bread upon the waters. 121 

ness and exposure? Those pale, bluish lips 
and feverish eyes, glittering and weird when 
contrasted with the famine-stricken faces, 
— that flitting, piteous, scared smile which 
greeted their fellow creatures, all will live for- 
ever before the mental vision that then wit- 
nessed it. 

Living and dead were taken from the flag-of- 
truce boat, not distinguishable save from the 
difference of care exercised in moving them. 
The Federal prisoners we had released were in 
many instances in a like state, but our ports 
had been blockaded, our harvests burned, our 
cattle stolen, our country wasted. Even had 
we felt the desire to succor, where could the 
wherewithal have been found % 'But the foe,— 
the ports of the world were open to him. He 
could have fed his prisoners upon milk and 
honey, and not have missed either. When we 
review the past, it would seem that Christian- 
ity was but a name — that the Atonement had 
failed, and Christ had lived and died in vain. 

But it was no time then for vague reflec- 
tions. With beating heart, throbbing head and 
icy hands I went among this army of martyrs 

122 Draw the Veil down. 

and spectres whom it was almost impossible to 
recognize as human beings ; powerless to speak 
to them, choking with unavailing pity, but still 
striving to aid and comfort. There was but 
little variety of appearance. Prom bed to bed 
the same picture met the eye. Hardly a ves- 
tige of human appearance left. 

The passion of sympathy could only impede 
my efforts if yielded to, for my hand shook too 
tremulously even to allow me to put the small 
morsels of bread soaked in wine into their 
mouths. It was all we dared to give at first. 
Some laid as if dead with limbs extended, but 
the greater part had drawn up their knees to an 
acute angle, a position they never changed un- 
til they died. Their more fortunate comrades 
said that the attitude was generally assumed, as 
it reduced the pangs of hunger and relieved the 
craving that gnawed them by day and by night. 
The Federal prisoners may have been starved at 
the South, we cannot deny the truth of the 
charge, in many instances ; but we starved with 
them ; we had only a little to share with any — 
but the subject had better be left to die in 

A Common Story. 123 

One among them lingered in patience the 
nsual three days that appeared to be their 
allotted space of life on their return. He was a 
Marylander, heir to a name renowned in the 
history of his country,* the last of seven sons 
reared in affluence, but presenting the same 
bluish, bloodless appearance common to them 
all. Hoping that there would be some chance 
of his rallying, T gave him judicious nursing 
and good brandy. Every precaution was taken, 
but the third day fever supervened and the 
little life left waned rapidly. He gave me the 
trinkets cut from gutta percha buttons that he 
had beguiled his captivity in making at Point 
Lookout, to send to his family, handing me one 
of them for a souvenir ; begged that he might 
be buried apart from the crowd in some spot 
where those who knew and cared for him might 
find him some day, and quietly slept himself to 
death that night. The next morning was the 
memorable 29th September, 1864, when the 
enemy made a desperate and successful attack, 
taking Port Harrison, holding it and placing 

♦ Richard Hammond Key, grandson of Francis Barton 
Key, author of **StaT Spangled Banner." 

124 ^ Strange Experience. 

Bichmond in jeopardy for four hours. The 
alarm bells summoned the citizens together, and 
the shops being closed to allow those who kept 
them to join the city guards, there were no 
means of buying a coffin, or getting a hearse. 
It was against the rules to keep a body beyond 
a certain time on the hospital grounds, so little 
time was to be lost if I intended keeping my 
promise to the dead. I summoned a convales- 
cent carpenter from one of the wards, made 
him knock together a rough coffin from some 
loose boards, and taking the seats out of my 
ambulance had it, with the body enclosed, put 
in. My driver was at his post with the guards, 
so taking the reins and kneeling in the little 
space at the side of the coffin I started for 
Hollywood cemetery, a distance of -five miles. 

The enemy were then in sight, and from 
every elevated point the masses of manoeuver- 
ing soldiers and flash of the enemy's cannon 
could be distinguished. Only stopping as I 
passed through the city to buy a piece of 
ground from the old cemetery agent, I reached 
Hollywood by twelve o' clock. Near the bury- 
ing-ground I met the Kev. Mr. McCabe, re- 

" We left him alone in his glory T 125 

quested his presence and assistance, and we 
stood side by side while the sexton dug his 
grave. The rain was pouring in torrents, while 
the clergyman repeated the Episcopal burial 
service from memory. Besides ourselves there 
but two poor women, of the humblest class of 
life — Catholics, who passing casually, dropped 
upon their knees, undeterred by the rain, and 
paid their humble tribute of respect to the 
dead. He had all the honors of a soldier's 
burial paid to him unconsciously, for the can- 
non roared and the musketry rattled, mingling 
with the thunder and lightning of Heaven's 
artillery. The sexton held his hat over the 
small piece of paper on which I inscribed his 
name and birthplace (to be put on his head- 
board) to protect it from the rain, and with a 
saddened heart for the solitary grave we left 
behind I drove back to the city. The reverend 
gentleman was left at his home, and, perhaps, 
to this day does not know who his companion 
was during that strange hour. 

I found the city in the same state of excite- 
ment, for no authentic news was to be heard, 
or received, except perhaps at official quarters ; 

1 26 Intense A nxiety. 

and it was well known that we had no troops 
nearer than Petersburg, save the citizens who 
had enrolled themselves for defense; there- 
fore too anxious to return directly to the hos- 
pital, I drove to the residence of one of the 
cabinet ministers, where I was engaged to 
attend a dinner, and found the mistress of the 
establishment, surrounded by her servants and 
trunks preparing for a hasty retreat when 
necessary. Some persuasion induced her to 
desist, and the situation of the house com- 
manding an extensive view of the surrounding 
country, we watched the advance of the enemy 
from the extreme northeast, for with the aid of 
opera-glasses we could even distinguish the 
colors of their uniforms. Slowly onward moved 
the bodies of dark blue, emerging from and 
disappearing into the woods, seeming to be 
skirting around them, but not to be diminish- 
ing the distance between, although each mo- 
ment becoming more distinct, which proved 
their advance, while not one single Confederate 
jacket could be observed over the whole sweep 
of ground. 

Half 1 hour passed, and then, far 

Saved. 127 

away against the distant horizon, one single 
mounted horseman emerged from a thick wood, 
looked cautiously around, passed across the 
road and disappeared. He was in gray, and 
followed by another and another, winding 
around and cutting off the foe. Then a start- 
ling peal at the bell, and a courier brought the 
news that Wade Hampton and his cavalry were 
close upon the rear of the enemy. There was 
no occasion for fear after this, for General 
Hampton was the Montrose of the Southern 
army, he who could make any cause famous 
with his pen and glorious with his sword. The 
dinner continued in course of preparation, and 
was seasoned, when served, by spirits bright- 
ened by the strong reaction. 

The horrors that attended, in past times, the 
bombardment of a city, were experienced in a 
great degree in Richmond during the fighting 
around us. The close proximity to the scenes of 
strife, the din of battle, the bursting of shells, the 
fresh wounds of the men hourly brought in were 
daily occurrences. Walking through the streets 
during this time, after the duties of the hos- 

128 Itinerary Labors. 

pital were over, when night had well advanced, 
the pavement around the railroad depot would 
be crowded with wounded men just brought in, 
and laid there waiting for conveyance to the re- 
ceiving hospitals. Some on stretchers, others 
on the bare bricks, or laid on a thin blanket, 
suffering from wounds hastily wrapped around 
with strips of coarse, unbleached, galling ban- 
dages of homespun cotton, on which the blood 
had congealed and stiffened until every crease 
cut like a knife. Women passing accidentally, 
like myself, would put down their basket or 
bundle, and ringing at the bell of neighboring 
houses, ask for basin and soap, warm water, 
and a few soft rags, and going from sufferer to 
sufferer, try to alleviate with what skill they 
possessed, the pain of fresh wounds, change the 
uneasy posture, and allay the thirst. Others 
would pause and look on, till the labor appear- 
ing to require no particular talent, they too 
would follow the example set them, and occa- 
sionally asking a word of advice, do their duty 
carefully and willingly. Idle boys would get a 
pine knot or tallow-dip, and stand quietly and 
curiously as torch-bearers, till the scene, with 


A Rose by any other Name. 129 

its gathering accessories formed a strange pic- 
ture, pot easily forgotten. Persons driving in 
different vehicles would alight sometimes in eve- 
ning dress, and choosing the wounded most in 
need of surgical aid, put them in their places, 
and send them to their destination, continuing 
their way on foot. There was little con- 
versation carried on, no necessity for introduc- 
tions, and no names ever asked or given. This 
indifference to personality was a peculiarity 
strongly exhibited in hospitals, for after 
nursing a sick or wounded patient for 
months, he has often left without any curi- 
osity exhibited as regarded my name, my 
whereabouts, or indeed any thing connected 
with me. A case in point was related by a 
friend. When the daughter of our general had 
devoted much time and care to a sick man in 
one of the hospitals, he seemed to feel so little 
gratitude for the attention paid, that her com- 
panion to rouse him told him that Miss Lee was 
his nurse. "Lee, Lee?" he said. ''There are 
some Lees down in Missisippi who keep a 
tavern there. Is she one of them Lees V 

Almost of the same style, although a little 

130 Not among the Compliments. 

worse was the remark of one of my sick, a poor 
fellow who had been wounded in the head and 
who, though sensible enough ordinarily, would 
feel the effect of the sun on his brain when ex- 
posed to its influence. After advising him to 
wear a wet paper doubled into the crown of his 
hat more from a desire to show some interest 
in him than from any belief in its efficacy, I 
paused at the door long enough to hear him 
ask the ward-master " who that was ?" " Why, 
that is the matron of the hospital ; she gives you 
all the food you eat, and attends to things." 
^'Well!" said he, *'I always did think this 
government was a confounded sell, and now I 
am sure of it, when they put such a little fool 
to manage such a big hospital as this." 

The ingenuity of the men was wonderful in 
making toys and trifles, and a great deal of 
mechanical talent was developed by the en- 
forced inaction* of hospital life. Every ward 
had its draught-board and draughtsmen cut out 
of hard wood and stained with vegetable dies, 
and sometimes chessmen would be cut out with 
a common knife, in such ornamentation that 
they ^ have disgraced a drawing-room. 

New Uses for the Bible. 131 

One man carved pipes from ivy root, with ex- 
quisitely-cut shields on the bowls, bearing the 
arms of the different States and their mottoes. 
He would charge and easily get a hundred and 
fifty dollars for a pipe (Confederate paper was 
then sixty cents for the dollar), and he only 
used his well-worn pocket-knife. Playing 
cards — the greatest comfort to alleviate the 
tedium of their sick life — were difficult to get a 
substitute for, so that the original packs had a 
hard time. They became, as may be supposed 
from the hands which used them, very dirty in 
a short time, and the comers in a particularly 
disreputable condition, but after the diffusion 
of the Oxford editions of the different books of 
the Bible sent from England as a donation, the 
soldiers took a lesson, and rounded the comers 
in imitation. A pack of cards after four years' 
use in a Southern hospital was beyond criticism. 
The men had their fashions too, sometimes 
insisting upon having light blue pants drawn 
for them, and at other seasons preferring gray ; 
but while the mania for either color raged, they 
would be dissatisfied with the other. When 
the quartermaster-general issued canvas shoes 

132 Camp Fashions. 

there was a loud dissatisfaction expressed in 
constant grumbling, till some original genius 
dyed the whitish tops by the liberal application 
of poke-berries. He was the Brummel of the 
day, and for many months crimson shoes were 
the rage, and long rows of unshod men would 
sit under the eaves of the wards, all diligently 
employed in the same labor and up to their 
elbows in red juice. 

This fashion died out, and gave place to a 
button mania. Men who had never had a 
dream or a hoi)e beyond a horn convenience to 
keep their clothing together, saved up their 
scanty means to replace them with gilt, and 
mad48 neat little wooden shelves with a slit 
throiigh the middle into which the buttons 
slid, so that they could be cleaned and bright- 
ened without taking them oflf, or soiling the 
jacket. With the glitter of buttons came the 
corresponding taste for gilt bands and tinsel 
around the battered hat, so that whUe our 
future was lowering darker and darker, our 
soldiers were amusing themselves like children 
who had no interest in the coming results. 

Life was so Sweet, 1 33 

The duty which of all others pressed most 
heavily upon me and which I never did per- 
form voluntarily was that of telling a man he 
cotild not live, when, he was perhaps uncon- 
scious that there was any danger apprehended 
from his wound. The idea of death so seldom 
occurs when disease and suffering have not 
wasted the frame and destroyed the vital ener- 
gies, that there is but little opening or encour- 
agement to commence such a subject unless the 
patient suspects the result ever so slightly. In 
many cases too, the yearning for life was so 
strong that to destroy the hope was beyond 
human power. life was for him a furlough, 
family and friends once more around him ; a 
future was all he wanted, and considered it 
cheaply purchased if only for a month by the 
endurance of any wound, however painful or 

There were long discussions among those 
responsible during the war, as to the advis- 
ability of the frequent amputations on the 
field, and often when a hearty, fine-looking man 
in the prime of life would be brought in minus 
an arm or leg, I would feel as if it might have 

1 34 Difficult Responsibilities, 

been saved, but experience taught me the wis- 
dom of prompt measures. Poor food and great 
exposure had thinned the blood and broken 
down the system so entirely that secondary 
amputations performed in the hospital almost 
invariably resulted in death, after the second 
year of the war. The blood lost on the battle- 
field when the wound was first received would 
enfeeble the already impaired system and 
render it incapable of farther enduLce. 

Once we received a strong, stalwart soldier 
from Alabama, and after five days' nursing, 
finding the inflammation from the wound in his 
arm too great to save the limb, the attending 
surgeon requested me to feed him on the best I 
could command ; by that means to try and give 
him strength to undergo amputation. Irrita- 
bility of stomach as well as indifference to food 
always accompanying gun-shot wounds, it was 
necessary, while the fever continued, to give 
him as much nourishment in as small a com- 
pass as possible, as well as easily digestible 
food, that would assimilate with his enfeebled 
condition. Beef tea he (in common with all 
soldicT*^ "^lieve men) would not, or could 

Failures, 135 

not take, or anything I suggested as an equiva- 
lent, so getting his consent to drink some 
"chemical mixture," I prepared the infusion. 
Chipping up a pound of beef and pouring upon 
it a half pint of water, the mixture was stirred 
until all the blood was extracted, and only a 
tea-spoonful of white fibre remained ; a little 
salt was added, and favored by the darkness of 
the corner of the ward in which he lay, I in- 
duced him to swallow it. He drank without 
suspicion, and fortunately liked it, only com- 
plaining of its being too sweet ; and by the end 
of ten days his pulse was fairly good, and there 
had been no accession of fever. Every precau- 
tion was taken, both for his sake and the bene- 
fit of the experiment, and the arm taken oflE by 
the most skillful surgeon we had. After the 
amputation, which he bore bravely, he looked 
as bright and wdl as before, and so on for five 
days — then the usual results followed. The 
system proved not strong enough to throw out 
the "pus" or inflammation; and this, ming- 
ling with the blood, produced that most fatal of 
all diseases, pyaemia, from which no one ever 

J 36 Erin-go-bragh. 

He was only one of numerous cases, so that 
my heart beat twice as rapidly as ordinarily 
whenever there were any arrangements pro- 
gressing for amputation, after any length of 
time had elapsed since the wound, or any eflfort 
made to save the limb. The only cases under 
my observation that survived were two Irishmeuj 
and it was really so difficult to kill an Irishman 
that there was little cause for boasting on the 
part of the officiating surgeons. One of them 
had his leg cut off in pieces, amputation having 
been performed three times, and the last heard 
from him was that he had married a young 
wife and settled on a profitable farm she owned 
in Macon, Georgia. He had touched* the boun- 
dary lines of the "unknown land," had been 
given up by the surgeons, who left me with 
orders to stimulate him if possible. The priest 
(for he was a Catholic) was naturally averse to 
my disturbing what he considered the last mo- 
ments of a dying man who had made his con- 
fession and taken his farewell of this world, 
and which ought to have been devoted to less 
worldly temptations than mint juleps; and a 
rather brisk encounter was the result of a 

Whiskey versus Rcligmi, 137 

difference of opinion on the subject ; for if he 
was responsible for the soul, so was I for the 
body, and I held my ground firmly. 

It was hard for an Irishman and a good 
Catholic to have to choose at this supreme mo- 
ment between religion and whiskey ; but 
though his head was turned respectfully 

towards good Father T his eyes rested too 

lovingly on the goblet offered to his lips to 
allow me to make any mistake as to the results 
of his ultimate intentions. The interpretation 
put by me on that look was that Callahan 
thought that as long as first proof brandy and 
mint lasted in the Confederacy this world was 
good enough for him, and the result proved 
that I was not mistaken. He always gave me 
the credit I have awarded to the juleps, and 
until the evacuation of Richmond kept me 
informed of his domestic happiness. 

Thoygh my health up to this time had with- 
stood the bad effects of exposure and exertion, 
the strain had become too great, and the con- 
stantly recurring agitation which had been 

1 38 My Furlough. 

excited each day. on receiving the returned 
prisoners, had broken me down completely. A 
visit to the surgeon-general with a request for a 
month's leave of absence, met with a ready ac- 
quiescence. The old gentleman was very 
urbane, even making one or two grim jokes, 
and handed me not only permission to leave, 
but the necessary transportation. Very neces- 
sary in this case, as tmveling expenses were 
enormously high, and the government had 
seized for the whole month of October the rail- 
roads for military use, putting a complete stop 
to private travel. 

It had been like tearing body and soul apart, 
when necessity compelled me to leave my hos- 
pital, from which I had never been separated 
but one day in nearly four years ; and when all 
arrangements for departure had been com- 
pleted, Miss G. urged, entreated and com- 
manded to keep a sharp look-out upon the 
whiskey, and be alike impenetrable to feints, 
stratagems and entreaties, my heart began to 
sink. A visit to the wards did not tend to 
strengthen my wavering resolves. The first in- 
valid tr ommunicated the news of my 

Off. 139 

intended departure burst into a passion of 
tears, and improved my frame of mind by re- 
questing me to kill him at once, for he would 
certainly die if left. Standing by his bedside, 
unsettled and irresolute, all the details of my 
daily life rose before me. The early and com- 
forting visit to the sick after their feverish, 
restless night ; when even if there were no good 
to be eflEected, they would feel the kindness, and 
every man's head would be thrust out of the 
bed-clothes as by one impulse, and jealousy 
evinced when a longer pause by one bedside 
than another would arouse the feeling. Often 
has the ward-master recalled me when at, the 
distance of a quarter of a mile from his ward, at 
the request of a patient, and when going back 
to find out what was wanted, a hearty convales- 
cent would explain that I had passed through 
and omitted to speak to him. 

Farewells were exchanged at last, and the 
6th October, 1864, found me at the Fredericks- 
burgh station, en route for Georgia. A search 
at the last moment before stepping into the 
cars, discovered that my keys, together with 
my watch, had been left at the hospital, while, 

I40 A Strong-Minded Failure. 

as an equivalent, there remained at the bottom 
of my basket half a salt mackerel (a rare luxury 
in the Confederacy), begged for a sick man who 
fancied it, a day before, and forgotten in the 
hurry of packing. I was compelled to defer my 
start until the 7th, 

There are some schoolday recollections hang- 
ing around the softening by Hannibal of a 
rugged journey by the plentiful application of 
vinegar ; but what acid could soften the rigors 
of that trip to Georgia % They can hardly be re- 
counted in any degree of limited space. With 
the aid of two gentlemen, and indeed every dis- 
engaged man on the road, a safe termination 
was effected after many days, and a delicious 
holiday passed in idleness and Corifederate lux- 
ury, free from the wear and tear of constantly 
excited feelings. Then came the stem reflection 
that I had no right to exceed the furlough of 
thirty days accorded by Dr. Moore. A search 
was immediately made for an escort, which hav- 
ing failed, genei'al advice was unanimously 
given to "go alone," on the grounds that 
woDi'^'^ ^"'^ become entirely independent at this 
f ^ man knowing the object of your 

A Hard Road to Travel, 141 

journey could fail to give you all the assistance 
you would need." 

Fired with this Quixotic sentiment, an early 
start was made. Finding almost immediately 
that I had not received checks for my trunks, I 
ventured, while the af&atus lasted, to touch a 
man who sat in front of me on the arm, and 
request him to call the conductor. '' I am sorry 
to say that I am not acquainted with him," 
was the answer ; and down I went to zero, never 
rising again till my journey was accomplished. 

Perhaps the details of my trials may give my 
readers some idea of the state of the country at 
that time. At West Point, which took an hour 
and a half s travel to reach from Legrange, we 
had to sleep all night, there being no connection 
for twelve hours. There were no bed-rooms, 
and no candles to be had, and the female trav- 
elers sat in the little bar of the tavern (the 
leading hotel being closed) brightened by a 
pine knot, with their feet on the sanded floor, 
and ate what they had provided themselves 
with from their baskets. 

Another two hours' travel on to Opelika the 
next day, and another detention for half-a- 

142 Services not Required. 

dozen hours. At Columbus, a rumor that the 
cars had been seized for government transporta- 
tion made me anxious concerning the nature of 
my ticket, which I found to my dismay was not 
suited to meet the emergency through some in- 
advertence ; so long before starting-time I was 
waiting at the depot seated on my trunk, half 
amused and half mortified at the resemblance 
thus offered to an emigrant Irish servant wo- 
man. The place was crowded with invalided 
soldiers, for the government was moving the 
hospitals to the lower part of the State, and 
idle spectators seeing my evident alarm offered 
all kinds of irrational advice. A suggestion 
was sensibly made by some one that by seeking 
one of the most helpless of the wounded and 
requesting him to allow me to pass as his nurse 
my object might be effected ; but every man to 
whom I opened my proposals seemed alarmed 
at and opposed to this idea. Towards the last 
the confusion became distracting — everybody 
calling for the conductor, who possessing no 
power, the cars being under military control, 
first denied his identity and then hid himself. 
Help came at the last moment in the form of 

Friend to the " Faymales. 143 

a red-faced, half-tipsy Irish porter who had 
been cheering me on with winks of encourage- 
ment at my frantic efforts for some time. " Lit 
me put yer trunks on," he said, and "thin go to 
Col. Frankland at the rare of the cars — sure 
he's the man to help the faymales." 

My forlorn hope, Col. Frankland, was stand- 
ing on the platform at the extreme rear of the 
cars, surrounded by a semi-circle below, about 
twenty-five feet deep, all pressing on to get to 
seats already too full. He was gesticulating 
and shouting like a madman. The lame, the 
halt, and the blind stood around. Crutches, 
splints, and huge sticks represented a small 
wood. Green blinds over eyes, raw faces peeled 
frpm erysipelas, and still showing variegated 
hues of iodine, gave picturesqueness to the 
scene. Had he borne Caesar and his fortunes 
he could not have been more interested. For 
two hours he had been stemming this living tide. 

I had met and fraternized with a lady and 
gentleman, old acquaintances, encountered at 
the depot, who appeared as anxious to get 
Northward as myself ; so telling her not to 
move until I had either achieved my object or 

144. -^ Bold Attempt, 

failed, and if I made her a sign to join me, I 
took my position at the fag end of the crowd 
below the colonel, and undeterred by distance 
and uproar I essayed a faint call for notice. 
The sound died away in my throat, but my 
Irish friend (I am sure he took me for one of 
his cousins from the ''ould counthrie"), was 
by my side in an instant and repeated the call. 
A hundred voices took up the refrain, '' A lady 
wants to speak to the colonel," and universal 
curiosity regarding the private nature of my 
business being exhibited by a profound silence 
I raised my voice as Mause Headrigg said, 
" like a pelican in the wilderness :" 

"Col. Frankland, I must get forward on this 
train to-night. Government business requires 
me to be in Richmond by the 1st November." 

'^ Can't do it, Madam. Would like to oblige 
you, but can' t go against my orders. The cars 
are for the use of sick and wounded soldiers 

"But Col. Frankland, hundreds of invalids 
are waiting for their breakfast, dinner and 

supper in Richmond. I am the matron of 


None Out the fair deserve the brave. 145 

"Can't help it, Madam! If you men there 
don't keep away from this platform and leave a 
passage way, I'll put the front rank under 
arrest !" 

"Oh! Col. Frankland, cannot I stand on 
the platform, if I am not allowed to use the 

" No, Madam, it would be dangerous. Sorry 
to refuse." 

"Let me go in the freight train." 

"There is no freight train." 

"Well, the box cars? I take very little 

"They are crowded. Madam, crowded. 
Keep off, men, keep off there !" 

The steam blew and whistled fearfully and 
the bell clanged an uproar of sound. A pass- 
ing car came rushing by and my courage was 
oozing fast. "Try him agin!" said my Irish 
friend, who unable to get near me, shouted his 

"Oh! Col. Frankland, excuse my perti- 
nacity, but what can I do? Let me go on in 
the mail car ! I will not even open my eyes to 

look at the outside of the letters." 

146 Importance of Hair-Pins. 

'^ Against the law. Cannot be done. How 
can I infringe upon my orders? Will no one 
keep those confounded men off?" 

^' Iwill^ Col. Frankland, if you will let me 
get up by your side. I will keep every single 
man away. Now men, keep oflp, I beg of you, 
for I must get to Richmond, and moreover, I 
wear very long hair-pins." 

" Thank you. Madam, thank you. Now 
men, you hear what this lady says, and I know 
she will be as good as her word." A hundred 
hands helped me up. I looked for my friend 
the red-nosed Irishman, but he was gone. 
Another moment and my friend stood by my 
side, assisted by the Irishman, who tipped me a 
comprehensive wink which set my mind at rest 
as regarded the safety of my trunk. 

'' This is not fair," said the Colonel. " You 
promised that no one should get on." 

' ' Oh, no, I promised that not a single man 
should do so. This is a woman. . Will you let 
her husband join her ? He is not a single man, 
for he has a wife and nine children !" 

The result may be imagined. Our party, 
very much relieved, were soon inside, where we 

A not her A t tempt. 1 47 

found four comfortable seats reserved for Gen. 
Beauregard and staff, which were unoccupied 
from those gentlemen being detained at Macon. 

At that city, where we were compelled to 
pass the night, the same state of things existed, 
and with depressed spirits I drove to the cars 
to see if any arrangement could be effected 
by which I could pursue my journey. The 
road would not be opened to the traveling pub- 
lic for a month, so an effort had to be made. 
An appeal to the authorities resulted as I ex- 
I)ected, in defeat, so I again tried my manoeu- 
ver of trying to interest subordinates. 

Failing, however, and bafled at every turn, 
while sitting again upon my trunk, the mail 
agent, standing in the doorway of his car, 
caught my eye. Improving the opportunity, I 
commenced a conversation, ending in an insinu- 
ating appeal to be taken into the mail box. 
Success and installation in his little square 
domicil followed, and my friend, passing out 
without any explanation, locked the door on 
the outside. There were no windows and no 
light whatever ; the hour six in the evening. 
Seated in loneliness and darkness till the town 

148 Frightened at Last, 

clock struck eight, every fear that could arise 
in the brain of a silly woman assailed me. Did 
the train I was in go to Augusta, and if not, 
would I be left where I was all night? Was 
the man who locked me up the mail agent ? If 
he came back and robbed and murdered me, 
would any one ever miss me? Having had 
nothing to eat but a couple of biscuits in 
twenty.four hours, and my brain being, in con- 
sequence, proportionately Ught, imagination 
seized the reins from common sense, which fled 
in the presence of utter darkness and loneli- 

At last the key turned in the lock, and the 
light of a lantern dispelled some of my terrors. 
The cars started and the agent commenced sort- 
ing his letters, first bolting us in securely. A 
couple of hours passed and ,my mind was grad- 
ually losing its tone of unpleasant doubt as to 
the wisdom of my proceedings, when my busy 
companion knocked oflE work and essayed to 
play the agreeable. He was communicative in 
the extreme, giving me his biography, which 
proved him to be a Connecticut man, and very 
m^^ ' "' ^tisfied with the Confederacy, partic- 

AlVs well that ends well. 149 

ularly with the state of the money market. So 
long as he kept to his personal recollections all 
was right, but he soon claimed a return of con- 
fidence, and grew hourly more patronizing and 
conversational. His tone and manner, the 
loneliness of the position, and the impossibility 
of any fortunate interruption occurring becom- 
ing unbearable at last, there is no knowing what 
I might have ventured to do, in the way of 
breaking out, if the cars had not fortunately 
run off the track. On we bumped, happily on 
level ground, for two minutes or more ; the en- 
gineer entirely unconscious of the fact and no 
way of communicating with him, as the soldiers 
were lying over the rope on the top of the cars, 
so that pulling was in vain. At last a pause, 
and then a crowd, and then a familiar name was 
called, most welcome to my ears. I repeated it 
aloud until the owner was by my side, and the 
rest of the night was spent in asking questions 
and receiving information. At daylight he left 
me to rejoin his command, whUe we continued 
on to Augusta. 

As usual, when we arrived there no vehicle 
of any kind met us at the depot, but being the 


150 up-country Georgia Eloquence. 

— — — 1 

only woman in the cars, the mail driver offered 
me a seat upon the mail-bags, and as it was 
raining I accepted, and in this august style 
reached the hotel by breakfast time. All mili- 
tary suspension ceased here, but there was de- 
tention for two hours, and this was enlivened 
by an amusing episode at the depot. 

Directly in front of me sat an old Georgia 
up-country woman, placidly regarding the box 
cars full of men on the parallel rails, waiting 
like ourselves to start. She knitted and gazed, 
and at last inquired ^ ' who was them ar soldiers, 
and whar was they a-going to ?' ' The informa- 
tion that they were Yankee prisoners startled 
her considerably. The knitting ceased ab- 
ruptly (all the old women in the Southern 
States knitted socks for the soldiers while trav- 
eling), and the Cracker bonnet of dark brown 
homespun was thrown back violently, for her 
whole nervous system seemed to have received 
a galvanic shock. Then she caught her breath 
with a long gasp, lifted on high her thin, trem- 
bling hand, accompanied by the trembling 
voice, a*^ " ' ^hem a speech : 

*' shamed of you-uns," she 

■ 1 

General Desolation. 151 

piped, "a-coming down here a-spiling our 
country, and a-robbing our hen-roosts ? What 
did we ever do to you-uns that you should 
come a-killing our brothers and sons? Ain't 
you ashamed of you-uns? What for do you 
want us to live with you-uns, you poor white 
trash ? I ain' t got a single nigger that would be 
so mean as to force himself where he wam't 
wanted, and what do we-uns want with you? 

Ain't you " but here came a roar of 

laughter from both cars, and shaking with ex- 
citement the old lady pulled down her spec- 
tacles, which in the excitement she had pushed 
up on her forehead, and tried in vain to resume 
her labors with uncertain fingers. 

From here to Richmond there occurred the 
usual detentions and trials of railroad travel 
under the existing circumstances. The win- 
dows of the cars were broken out in many 
places. Sometimes no fire for want of stoves, 
and the nights damp and chilly. All in utter 
darkness, for the lamps were gone, and could 
they have been replaced, there would have been 
no oil. 

We prowled ^ovlq^ stopping eyery hour 

152 A Woman lias an Opinion. 

almost, to tinker up some part of the car or the 
road, getting out at times when the conductor 
announced that the travelers must walk "a 
spell or two," meaning from one to five miles. 
Crowds of women were getting in and out all 
the way, the male passengers grumbling aloud 
that "women had better stay at home, they 
had no business to be running around in such 
times." This was said so often that it became 
very unpleasant, till the tables were turned 
early one morning at Gainsborough, when a 
large-sized female made her way along the 
center of the car, looking from right to left in 
the vain search for a seat. None being vacant, 
she stopped short, and addressed the astonished 
male passengers with more vigor than ele- 
gance : '' What for pity sake do you men mean 
by rtinning all around the country for, instead 
of staying in the field, as you ought to do? 
You keep filling up the cars so that a woman 
can't attend to her business. Your place should 
be opposite the enemy." This diversion on our 
behalf was received silently, but many seats 
were soon vacated by their occupants on the 
plea of " taking a little smoke." 

Beaten at Last, 153 

At last, the 1st of November found me 
weary, hungry, cold and exhausted by travel at 
the Richmond depot, four hours after schedule 
time ; with that most terrible scourge, a bad, 
nervous headache racking me all over. The 
crowd around was immense, so that by the time 
it opened and dispersed sufficiently to let me 
make my way through, every vehicle had left, 
if there had ever been any there before. As 
usual, my telegram had not been received, so 
there was no one to meet me, and pain render- 
ing me indifferent to appearances I quietly 
spread my shawl upon a bench and myself 
upon it. For how long I cannot say, but I was 
roused by a voice asking what I wanted, and 
what was the matter? "Any kind of a vehicle 
to take me home," was the answer. After a 
few moments' delay my new friend returned 
with the information that there was only a 
market cart, which if I was willing to ride in, 
was for hire. If it had been a hearse it would 
have been hailed with welcome. My two 
trunks were put on, and I was deposited on 
them. The hour, eleven at night. 

I looked first at the horse. H^3 had a 

154 One of our Future Presidents. 

shadowy gray skin stretched over his promi- 
nent bones, and in the dim, misty light, seemed 
a mere phantom. The driver next came under 
observation. A little dried-up, gray black, old 
darkey, with a brown rag tied around his head, 
but like all his species he was kindly disposed 
and respectful. Directions were given him to 
drive to a friend's house. He said that his 
horse was too tired, but if I were willing, he 
had another "at his place," where he would 
drive me and change. 

Quite willing, or rather too weary to assert 
any authority, so on we rumbled and rattled 
almost twice the distance I was first bound, 
changed one skeleton for another, and started 
again for my friend's house. At last the 
blessed haven was reached, but the sight of a 
new face to my summons at the door made my 
heart sink. She had ''moved yesterday." 

"Drive to Miss G.'s house," was my next 
direction. Intending to throw myself upon her 
hospitality and charity for the night, for we 
were out of the way of all hotels. 

The same result on application. Had all 
moved? The fresh air, and the 

Compromises. 155 

necessity for exertion in this novel position had 
routed my headache, and now gave me courage 
to make a proposition I hadn' t dared to make 

" Could not you drive me to the hospital on 
the hill ?" was my demand made in most ingra- 
tiating tones. 

The old man untied the rag from off his 
head, and smoothed it on his knee by way of 
ironing out the creases and assisting reflection ; 
replaced it, taking up the reins again before he 
answered, for we were now at a stand-still at 
the Broad street hill. 

"Missis," said he solemnly, "de way it is 
long, and de bridges dey is rotten ; but ef you 
is not afeared to dribe ober dem by you-self, 
and let me git out, and pay me ten dollars, de 
ole hoss might be consarned to go up dis yere 

The bargain was struck, and the hospital 
reached after midnight. The key of my apart- 
ments sent for, when the duplicate hair that at 
last broke the camel's back was laid upon mine. 

" Miss G. had taken it with her." 

"Bring a carpenter," I cried desperately; 

156 And Comparisons. 

"and tell him to get a sledge-hammer and 
knock down, or in, anything that will let me 
get into the place. I must have rest." 

The door was broken open ; a fire was 
kindled; a delicious piece of cold hard corn- 
bread found and devoured, and when the warm 
covering of the first bed I had slept in for ten 
days was drawn around me, all the troubles of 
a hard world melted away, and the only real 
happiness on earth, entire exemption from 
mental and bodily pain, took possession of me. 

I noticed on my return a great difference in 
the means of living between Virginia and the 
Gulf States. Even in the most wealthy and 
luxurious houses in Richmond, former every- 
day comforts had about this time become 
luxuries, and had been dispensed with earlier 
in the war. 

Farther south, they still received from Nas- 
sau what they needed, always running the risks 
of losing the cargoes of the blockade-runners, 
therefore duplicating orders. Tea and coffee 
were first given up at the capital, then many 
used com flour, — wheat was so high. Gradu- 

Entire Resumption, 157 

ally butter disappeared from the breakfast 
table, and brown sugar when it reached twenty 
dollars a pound shared the same fate. But no 
such economy appeared necessary where I had 
been. The air of the people in the cars and 
around the railroad stations was hopeful in the 
extreme. There was no doubt expressed even 
at this late day, the November of 1864, as to the 
ultimate success of the Southern cause. 

Their hospitals though did not compare with 
those I had left in Virginia, either in arrange- 
ment, cleanliness or attendance. Even as early 
as 1862 the matrons' places there had been filled 
by ladies of education and refinement ; but this 
with a few exceptions had been the rule in Vir- 
ginia only, and such supervision made a marked 
difference, as may be supposed. 

During my absence, the greater portion of 
the patients I had left a month previously had 
either recovered and left, or died, so that it was 
awkward to resume my duties among strangers. 
A few days' visiting rectified this however. 
The happiest welcome I got was from Miss G., 
who resigned the key of the liquor closet with 
a sigh which spoke volumes. From what could 

158 Christmas Festivities. 

be gathered, she had been equal to the occasion, 
and knowing the hardships of her dragonship I 
did not press her strenuously upon points con- 
nected with it. 

The health of the army was now so good, 
that except when the wounded were sent in, we 
were comparatively idle. That terrible scourge, 
pneumonia, so prevalent early in the war, and 
so fatal in its typhoid form, had almost disap- 
peared. The men had become accustomed and 
inured to exposure. Christmas passed pleas- 
antly. The hospital fund (from the great de- 
preciation of the money) being too small to allow 
us to make much festive preparation, the ladies 
of the city drove out in carriages and ambu- 
lances laden with good things. The previous 
years we had been enabled to give out of the 
expenditure of our own funds a bowl of egg- 
nogg and a slice of cake, for lunch, to every 
man in the hospital, as well as his portion of 
turkey and oysters for dinner ; but times were 
more stringent now. 

Soon after New Tear, 1865, some members 
of the committee on hospital affairs called to 
see me ^^-^ '— ns of getting some information 

Disctissions regarding the Hero. 1 59 

regarding the use or abuse of liquor, before the 
bill for the appropriations for the coming year 
would be introduced. There were doubts afloat 
as to whether the benefit conferred upon the 
patients by the use of stimulants counterbal- 
anced the evil effects they produced on the sur- 
geons, who were in the habit of making use of 
them wheu they could get them. 

The problem was difficult to solve. A case 
in point had lately come under my observation. 
A man had been brought into our hospital with 
a crushed ankle, the cars having run over it. 
He had been attended to, and the leg put in 
splints before we had received him, so as he 
was still heavy and drowsy, possibly from some 
anodyne administered, the surgeon in attend- 
ance ordered him to be left undisturbed. The 
nurse in a few hours came to me to say that the 
man was suffering intensely. He had a burn- 
ing fever, and complained of the fellow leg in- 
stead of the injured one. The natural idea of 
sympathy occurred, and a sedative given which 
failed in producing any effect. I determined 
to look at it in spite of orders, his sufferings 
appearing so great, and finding the foot and leg 

1 60 i^crtbbled Eggs and Flitters. 

above and below the splint perfectly well, the 
thought of examining the fellow leg suggested 
itself. It was a most shocking sight — swollen, 
inflamed and purple — the drunken surgeon had 
set the wrong leg 1 The pain induced low fever, 
which eventually assumed a typhoid form, and 
the man died. With this instance fresh in my 
memory I hesitated to give any opinion in 
favor, and yet felt we could not manage with- 
out the liquor. However, the appropriation 
was made. 

This poor fellow was the most dependent 
patient I ever had, and though entirely uned- 
ucated, won his way to my sympathies by his 
entire helplessness and belief in the efficacy of 
my care and advice. No surgeon in the hos- 
pital could persuade him to swallow anything 
in the shape of food unless I sanctioned the 
order, and a few kindly words, or an encour- 
aging nod would satisfy and please him. His 
ideas of luxuries were curious, and his answer 
to my daily inquiries of what he could fancy 
for food, was invariably the same — he would 
like some "scribbled eggs and flitters." This 
order was complied with three times daily, 

Un-chew-able Food. i6i 

until the doctor prescribed stronger food and 
thougli many dainties were substituted, he still 
called them by the same name, leading me to 
suppose that ''scribbled eggs and flitters" was 
his generic term for food. I made him some 
jelly — Confederate jelly — with the substitution 
of whiskey for Madeira wine, and citric acid for 
lemons, but he said "he did not like it, there 
was no chewing on it," and "it all went, he 
did not know where !" so I gave up trying to 
tempt his palate. 

When whole wards would be emptied of 
their occupants, in compliance with changes 
made to suit certain views of the surgical de- 
partment, and strangers put in, I would always 
feel a great repugnance to visiting them. But 
when the change became gradual, by the conva- 
lescents, in twos or threes or half-dozens, being 
exchanged for invalids, there would always be 
enough men left to whom I was known, to 
make me feel at home, and to inform the new- 
comers why I came among them, and what my 
duties were. I now found my hospital filled 
with strangers. They were not so considerate 

i62 Culinary Mortifications. 

as my old friends had been, and looked rather 
with suspicion upon my daily visits. One man 
amused me particularly by keeping a portion 
of his food every day for my special and 
agreeable inspection, as he thought, and my 
particular annoyance, as I felt. A specimen of 
everything he thought unpalatable was depos- 
ited under his pillow, to await my arrival, and 
the greeting invariably given me was : 

'' Do you call that good bread ?" 

" Well no, not very good ; but the flour is 
very dark and musty." 

Another day he would draw out a handful! 
of dry rice. 

*' Do you call that properly boiled ?" 

''That is the way we boil rice in Carolina. 
Each grain must be separated." 

'' Well ! I won't eat mine boiled that way." 

And so on through all the details of his 
food. Somebody he felt was responsible, and 
unfortunately he determined that I should be 
the scapegoat. His companion who laid by his 
side was even more disagreeable than he was. 
Being a terrible pickle consumer, he indulged 
in such extreme dissipation in that luxury that 

Pickles versus Homespun, 163 

a check had to be put upon his appetite. He 
attacked me upon this grievance the first chance 
he found, and listened scornfully to my re- 
marks that pickles were luxuries to be eaten 
sparingly and used carefully. ''Perhaps," he 
said at last, ''we would have more pickles if 
you had fewer new dresses." There was no 
doubt that I wore a new homespun dress, but 
what connection it had with the pickles was 
rather mysterious. However, that afternoon 
came a formal apology, written in quite an ele- 
gant style, and signed by every man in the 
ward, except the pickle man, in which the fault 
of this cruel speech was laid upon the bad 

All this winter of '64, the city had been un- 
usually gay. Besides parties, private theatri- 
cals and tableaux were constantly exhibited. 
Wise and thoughtful men disapproved openly 
of this mad gayety. There was certainly a 
painful discrepancy between the excitement of 
dancing and the rumble of ambulances that 
could be heard in the momentary lull of the 
music, carrying the wounded to the different 

1 64 Beginning of the End. 

hospitals. Young men advocated this state of 
aflfairs, arguing that after the fatigues and dan- 
gers of a campaign in the field, some relaxation 
was necessary on their visits to the capital. 

To thinking people this recklessness was 
ominous ; and by the end of February, 1865, 
it began to be felt by them that all was not as 
safe as it was supposed to be. The incessant 
moving bf troops through the city from one 
point to another proved weakness, and the 
scarcity of rations issued told a painful tale. 
People rated the inefficiency of the commissary 
department, and predicted that a change in 
its administration would make all right. Soon 
afterwards the truth was told me in confidence 
and under promise of strict secresy. Richmond 
would be evacuated in a month or six weeks. 
The time might be lengthened or shortened, but 
the fact was established. 

Then came the packing up, quietly but 
surely, of the different departments. Requisi- 
tions on the medical purveyor were returned 
unfilled, and an order from the surgeon-general 
required that herbs instead of licensed medi- 
cines shoj^l^ke used in the hospitals. There 

/ 1 

Agitations. 165 

was a great deal of merriment elicited from the 
"yarb teas," drawn during this time by the 
surgeons ; few knowing the sad cause of their 
substitution. My mind had been very un- 
settled as to my course of action in view of the 
impending crash, but my duty prompted me to 
remain with my sick, on the ground that no 
general ever deserts his troops. But to be left 
by all my friends to meet the dangers and pri- 
vations of an invested city, among antagonistic 
influences, with the prospect of being turned 
out of my office the next day after the sur- 
render, was not a cheering one. Even my home 
would no longer be open to me; for staying 
with a cabinet minister, he would leave with 
the government. I was spared the necessity of 
decision by the sudden attack of General Grant, 
and the breaking of the Confederate lines, and 
before there was time to think at all, the gov- 
ernment and all its train had vanished. 

On the 2nd of April, 1866, while the congre- 
gation of Dr. Minnegarode's church in Rich- 
mond were listening to his Sunday sermon, a 
messenger entered and handed a telegram to 

1 66 History, 

Mr. Daris, then president of the Confederate 
States, who rose immediately, and without any 
risible signs of agitation or surprise, left the 
church. Xo alarm was exhibited by the con- 
gregation, though several members of the presi- 
dent's staff followed him, till Dr. Minnegarode 
brought the service to an abrupt close, and in- 
formed his started flock that the city would be 
evacuated shortly, and they would only exer- 
cise a proper d^ree of prudence by going home 
immediately, and preparing for the event. 
This announcement, although coming from 
such a reliable source, hardly availed to con- 
vince the Virginians that their beloved capital, 
assailed so often, defended so bravely, sur- 
rounded by fortifications on which the engi- 
neering talents of their best officers had been 
expended, was to be capitulated. Some months 
before, a small number admitted behind the 
vail of the temple had been apprised that the 
sacrifice was to be accomplished ; that Greneral 
Lee had again and again urged Mr. Davis to 
yield this Mecca of his heart to the interests of 
the Confederacy, and resign a city which re- 
quired a" hold it, and pickets to be 

History, 167 

posted from thirty to forty miles around it, 
weakening his depleted army ; and again and 
again had the iron will triumphed, and the foe, 
beaten and discomfited, retired for fresh com- 
binations and fresh troops. 

But the hour had come, and the evacuation 
was only a question of time. Day and night 
had the whistle of cars proved to the anxious 
people that brigades were being moved to 
strengthen this point or defend that ; and no 
one was able to say exactly where any portion 
of the army of Virginia was stationed. That 
Grant would made an effort to strike the South- 
side railroad — the main artery for the convey- 
ance of food to the city — every one Tcnew ; and* 
that General Lee would be able to meet the 
effort and check it, everybody hoped^ and while 
this hope lasted there was no panic. 

The telegram which reached Mr. Davis that 
Sunday morning, was to the effect that the 
enemy had struck, and on the weakest point of 
the Confederate lines. It told him to be pre- 
pared in event of the repulse failing. Two 
hours after came the fatal news that Grant had 
forced his way through, and that the city must 

1 68 Picture of the Times, 

instantly be evacuated. What is meant by that 
simple sentence "evacuation of the city" but 
few can imagine who have not exi)erienced it. 
. The officials of the various departments hurried 
to their offices, speedily packing up everything 
connected with the government. The quarter- 
master's and commissary's stores were thrown 
oi)en and thousands of the half-starved and half- 
clad people of Richmond rushed to the scene. 

Delicate women tottered under the weight 
of hams, bags of coffee, flour and sugar. In- 
valided officers carried away articles of unac- 
customed luxury for sick wives and children 
at home. Every vehicle was in requisition, 
commanding fabulous remuneration, and gold 
or silver the only currency accepted. The im- 
mense concourse of government employes, 
speculators, gamblers, strangers, pleasure and 
profit lovers of all kinds that had been attached 
to that great center, the Capital, were "pack- 
ing," while those who had determined to stay 
and await the chances of war, tried to look 
calmly on, and draw courage from their faith in 
the justness of their cause. 

Th^ «r,-.r..« and families of Mr. Davis and his 

The Departure, . 169 

cabinet had been sent away some weeks pre- 
viously, so that no provision had been made for 
the transportation of any particular class of peo- 
ple. All the cars that could be collected were 
at the Fredericksburg depot, and by 3 o'clock 
P. M. the trains commenced to move. The scene 
at the station was of indescribable confusion. 
No one could afford to abandon any article of 
wear or household use, when going where they 
knew that nothing could be replaced. Baggage 
was as valuable as life, and life was represented 
there by wounded and sick officers and men, 
helpless women and children, for all who could 
be with the army were at their iDost. 

Hour after hour fled and still the work went 
on. The. streets were strewn with torn papers, 
records and documents too burdensome to carry 
away, too important to be left for inspection, 
and people still thronged the thoroughfares, 
loaded with stores until then hoarded by the 
government and sutler shops. 

The scream and rumble of the cars never 
ceased all that weary night, and was perhaps 
the most painful sound to those left behind, for 
all the rest of the city seemed flying ; but while 

170 Burning of the City, 

the center of Richmond was in the wildest con- 
fusion, so sudden had been the shock that the 
suburbs were quiet and even ignorant of the 
scenes enacting in the heart of the city. Events 
crowded so rapidly upon each other that no one 
had time to spread reports. 

There was no change in the appearance of 
the surroundings till near midnight, when the 
school-ship, the Patrick Henry ^ formerly the 
old United States ship Torktown^ was fired at 
the wharf at Rocketts (the extreme eastern end 
of the city). The blowing up of her magazine 
seemed the signal for the work of destruction 
to commence. Explosions followed from all 
points. The warehouses and tobacco manufac- 
tories were fired, communicating the fiames to 
the adjacent houses and shops, and soon Main 
street was in a blaze. The armory, not intended 
to be burnt, either caught accidentally or was 
fired by mistake ; the shells exploding and fill- 
ing the air with hissing sounds of horror, men- 
acing the people in every direction. Colonel 
Gorgas had endeavored to spike or destroy 
them by rolling them into the canal, and 
but "ecaution with the largest, the 

Last Scenes. 171 

city would have been almost leveled to the 

No one slept during that night of horror, 
for added to the present scenes were the antici- 
pations of what the morrow would bring forth. 
Daylight dawned upon a wreck of destruction 
and desolation. Prom the highest point of 
Church hill and Libby hill, the eye could range 
over the whole extent of city and country — the 
fire had not abated, and the burning bridges 
were adding their flame and smoke to the scene. 
A single faint explosion could be heard from 
the distance at long intervals, but the Patrick 
Henry was low to the water' s edge and Drewry 
but a column of smoke. The whistle of the 
cars and the rushing of the laden trains still 
continued — they had never ceased — ^and the 
clouds hung low and draped the scene as morn- 
ing advanced. 

Before the sun had risen, two carriages 
rolled along Main street, and passed through 
Rocketts just under Chimborazo hospital, car- 
rying the mayor and corporation towards the 
Federal lines, to deliver the keys of the city, 
and half an hour afterwards, over to the east, a 

1 72 Taking Possession. 

single Federal blue- jacket rose above the hill, 
standing transfixed with astonishment at what 
he saw. Another and another sprang up as if 
out of the earth, but still all remained quiet. 
About seven o'clock, there fell upon the ear the 
steady clatter of horses' hoofs, and winding 
around Rocketts, close under Chimborazo hill, 
came a small and compact body of Federal cav- 
alrymen, on horses in splendid condition, riding 
closely and steadily along. They were well 
mounted, well accoutered, well fed — ^a rare 
sight in Southern streets, — the advance of that 
vaunted army that for four years had so hope- 
lessly knocked at the gates of the Southern 

They were some distance in advance of the 
infantry who followed, quite as well appointed 
and accoutered as the cavalry. Company after 
company, regiment after regiment, battaliou 
after battalion, and brigade after brigade, they 
poured into the doomed city — an endless 
stream. One detachment separated from the 
main body and marching to Battery No. 2, 
raised the United States flag, their band play- 
^*~ "^tar Spangled Banner. There they- 

Entrance of the Federal Army, 173 

stacked their arms. The rest marched along 
Main street through fire and smoke, over burn- 
ing fragments of buildings, emerging at times 
like a phantom army when the wind lifted the 
dark clouds ; while the colored population 
shouted and cheered them on their way. 

Before three hours had elapsed, the troops 
had been quartered and were inspecting the 
city. They swarmed in every highway and by- 
way, rose out of gullies, appeared on the top of 
hills, emerged from narrow lanes, and skirted 
around low fences. There was hardly a spot in 
Richmond not occupied by a blue coat, but 
they were orderly, quiet and respectful. 
Thoroughly disciplined, warned not to give 
offense by look or act, they did not speak to 
any one unless first addressed ; and though 
the women of the South contrasted with sick- 
ness of heart the difference between this splen- 
didly-equipped army, and the war-worn, wasted 
aspect of their own defenders, they were grate- 
ful for the consideration shown them ; and if 
they remained in their sad homes, with closed 
doors and windows, or walked the streets with 
averted eyes and vailed faces, it was that they 

174 Occupation of the Ctty. 

could not bear the presence of invaders, even 
nnder the most favorable circumstances. 

Before the day was over, the public build- 
ings were occupied by the enemy, and the 
minds of the citizens relieved from all fear of 
molestation. The hospitals were attended to, 
the ladies being still allowed to nurse and care 
for their own wounded ; but rations could not 
be drawn yet, the obstructions in the James 
river preventing the transports from coming up 
to the city. In a few days they arrived, and 
food was issued to those in need. It had been 
a matter of pride among the Southerners to 
boast that they had never seen a greenback, so 
the entrance of the Federal army had thus 
found them entirely unprepared with gold and 
silver currency. People who had boxes of Con- 
federate money and were wealthy the day 
previously, looked around in vain for where- 
withal to buy a loaf of bread. Strange ex- 
changes were made on the street of tea and 
coffee, flour and bacon. Those who were fortu- 
nate in having a stock of household necessaries 
were generous in the extreme to their less 
wealt> ^rs, but the destitution was ter- 

A musements Furnished. 175 

■T ■ I I I - I ■■■I - ■! ■ I I L- 

rible. The sanitary commission shops were 
opened, and commissioners appointed by the 
Federals to visit among the people and distrib- 
ute orders to draw rations, but to effect this, 
after receiving tickets, required so many ap- 
peals to different officials, that decent people 
gave up the effort. Besides, the musty corn- 
meal and strong cod-fish were not appreciated 
by fastidious stomachs — few gently nurtured 
could relish such unfamiliar food. 

But there was no assimilation between the 
invaders and invaded. In the daily newspaper 
a notice had appeared that the military bands 
would play in the beautiful capital grounds 
every afternoon, but when the appointed hour 
arrived, except the Federal officers, musicians 
and soldiers, not a white face was to be seen. 
The negroes crowded every bench and path. 
The next week another notice was issued that 
the colored population would not be admitted ; 
and then the absence of everything and any- 
thing feminine was appalling. The entertainers 
went alone to their own entertainment. The 
third week still another notice appeared : 
" colored nurses were to be admitted with their 

1 76 Wicked Ingratitude, 

white charges," and lo! each fortaaate white 
baby received the cherished care of a dozen 
fiaely-dreased black ladies, the only drawback 
being that in two or three days the music 
ceased altogether, the entertainers feeling at 
last the ingratitude of the subjugated people. 

Despite their courtesy of manner, for how- 
ever despotic the acts, the Federal authorities 
maintained a respectful manner — the new- 
comers made no advance towards fraternity. 
They spoke openly and warmly of their sym- 
pathy vdth the suflPerihgs of the South, but 
committed and advocated acts that the hearers 
could not recognize as "military necessities." 
Bravely - dressed Federal officers met their 
former old class-mates from colleges and mili- 
tary institutions and inquired after the relatives 
to whose houses they had ever been welcome in 
days of yore, expressing a desire to "call and 
see them," while the vacant chairs, rendered 
vacant by Federal bullets, stood by the hearth 
of the vrtdow and bereaved mother. They 
could not be to understand that their 
presence was painful. There were few men in 
the Ms time ; but the women of the 

Circus and Pictorial Food, i TJ 

South still fouglit tlieir battle for them : fought 
it resentfully, calmly, but silently ! Clad in 
their mourning garments, overcome but hardly 
subdued, they sat within their desolate homes, 
or if compelled to leave that shelter went on 
their errands to church or hospital with vailed 
faces and swift steps. By no sign or act did 
the possessors of their fair city know that they 
were even conscious of their presence. If they 
looked in their faces they saw them not : they 
might have supposed themselves a phantom 
army. There was no stepping aside with affec- 
tation to avoid the contact of dress, no feigned 
humility in giving the inside of the walk : they 
simply totally ignored their presence. 

Two particular characteristics followed the 
army in possession — the circus and booths for 
the temporary accommodation of itinerant ven- 
ders. The small speculators must have sup- 
posed that there were no means of cooking left 
in the city, from the quantity of canned edibles 
they offered for sale. They inundated Rich- 
mond with pictorial canisters at exorbitant 
prices, which no one had money to buy. 
Whether the supply of greenbacks was scant, 

178 Distinguished Visitors. 

or the people were not disposed to trade with 
the new-comers, they had no customers. 

In a few days steamboats had made their 
way to the wharves, though the obstructions 
still defied the ironclads, and crowds of curious 
strangers thronged the pavements, while squads 
of mounted male pleasure-seekers scoured the 
streets. (Jayly-dressed women began to pour in 
also, with looped-up skirts, very large feet, and 
a great preponderance of spectacles. The Rich- 
mond women sitting by desolated firesides were 
astonished by the arrival of former friends, 
sometimes people moving in the best classes of 
society, who had the bad taste to make a pleas- 
ure trip to the mourning city, calling upon 
their heart-bi-oken friends of happier days in all 
the finery of the newest New York fashions, 
and in some instances forgiving their enter- 
tainers the manifold sins of the last four years 
in formal and set terms. 

Prom the hill on which my hospital was 
built, I had sat all the weary Sunday of the 
evacuation, watching the turmoil, and bidding 
friends adieu, for even till noon many had been 
unconp" events that were transpiring. 

Miracles^ 179 

and now when they had all departed, as night 
set in, I wrapped my blanket-shawl around me, 
and watched below me all that I have here nar- 
rated. Then I walked through my wards and 
found them comparatively empty. Every man 
who could crawl had tried to escape a Northern 
prison. Beds in which paralyzed, rheumatic, 
and helpless patients had laid for months were 
empty. The miracles of the New Testament 
had been re-enacted. The lame, the halt, and 
the blind had been cured. Those who were 
compelled to remain were almost wild at being 
left in what would be the enemy's lines the 
next day ; for in many instances they had been 
exchanged prisoners only a short time before. 
I gave all the comfort I could, and with some 
difficulty their supper also, for my detailed 
nurses had gone with General Lee' s army, and 
my black cooks had deserted me. 

On Monday morning, the day after the evac- 
uation, the first blue uniforms appeared at our 
quarters — three surgeons inspecting the hospital. 
As our surgeon was with them, there must have 
been an amicable understanding. One of our 
divisions was required for use by the new-com- 

1 80 Left " alone in my glory'' 

ers, cleared out for them, and their patients laid 
by the side of our own sick so that we shared 
with them, as my own commissary stores were 
still well supplied. Three days afterwards an 
order came to transfer my old patients to Camp 
Jackson. I protested bitterly against this, as 
they werQ not in a fit state for removal, so they 
remained unmolested. To them I devoted my 
time, for our surgeons had either then left or 
received orders to discontinue their labors. 

Towards evening the place was deserted. 
Miss Gr. had remained up to this time with me, 
but her mother requiring her preseuce in the 
city, she left at sunset, and after I had gone 
through all my wards, I returned to my dear 
little sitting-room, endeared by retrospection, 
and the consciousness that my labors were 
nearly over, but had been (as far as regarded 
results) in vain ! 

The Federal authorities had as yet posted 
no guards around, and as our own had been 
withdrawn, or rather had left, being under no 
control or direction, not a sound broke the still- 
ness of the sad night. Exhausted with all the 
^^"" *^^8 of the day, it was not to be 

Hero re-appears, 1 8 1 

wondered at that I soon fell asleep heavily and 
dreamlessly, to be awakened in an hour by the 
crash of an adjoining door, and passing into my 
pantry from whence the sonnd proceeded I 
came upon a group of men, who had burst the 
entrance opening upon the back premises. As 
my eye traveled from face to face, I recognized 
them as a set of ' ' hospital rats ' ' whom 1 had 
never been able to get rid of, for if sent to the 
field one week, they would be sure to be back 
the next, on some trifling pretext of sickness or 
disability. The ringleader was an old enemy, 
who had stored up many a grievance against 
me, but my acts of kindness to his sickly wife 
naturally made me suppose his wrath had been 
disarmed. He acted on this occasion as spokes- 
man, and the trouble was the old one. Thirty 
gallons of whiskey had been sent to me the day 
before the evacuation, and they wanted it. 

'' We have come for the whiskey 1" 

" You cannot, and shall not have it." 

"It does not belong to you." 

" It is in my charge, and I intend to keep it. 
Go out of my pantry ; you are all drunk." 

"Boys!" he said, "pick up that barrel 

1 82 Noli me tangere. 

and carry it down the hill. I will attend to 

Bnt the habit of obedience of four years still 
had its effect on the boys, for all the movement 
they made was in a retrograde direction. 

"Wilson," I uaid, "you have been in this 
hospital a long time. Do you think from what 
you know of me that the whiskey can be taken 
without my consent ?" 

He became very insolent. 

" Stop that talk ; your great friends have all 
gone, and we won' t stand that now. Move out 
of the way 1" 

He advanced towards the barrel, and so did 
I. only being in the inside, I interposed be- 
tween him and the object of contention. Jhe 
fierce temper blazed up in his face, and catch- 
ing me roughly by the shoulder, he called me a 
name that a decent woman seldom hears and 
even a wicked one resents. 

But I had a little friend, which usually re- 
posed quietly on the shelf, but had been re- 
moved to my pocket in the last twenty-four 
hours, more from a sense of protection than 
from any idea that it would be called into 

Victory Perches on my Banner. 183 

active service ; so before he had time to push 
me one inch from my position, or to see what 
kind of an ally was in my hand, that sharp 
click, a sound so significant and so different 
from any other, struck upon his ear, and 
sent him back amidst his friends, pale and 

'^ You had better leave," I said, composedly 
(for I felt in my feminine soul that although I 
was near enough to pinch his nose, that I had 
missed him), "for if one bullet is lost, there are 
five more ready, and the room is too small for 
even a woman to miss six times." 

There was a conference held at the shattered 
door, resulting in an agreement to leave, but he 
shook his fist wrathf ully at my small pop-gun. 

"You think yourself very brave now, but 
wait an hour ; perhaps others may have pistols 
too, and you won' t have it entirely your way 
after all." 

My first act was to take the head of one of 
the fiour barrels and nail it across the door as 
tightly as I could, with a two-pound weight for 
a hammer, and then, warm with triumph and 
victory gained, I sat down by my whiskey bar-: 

1 84 Confederate Full Dress. 

rel and felt the affection we all bestow on what 
we have cherished, fought for, and defended 
successfully; then putting a candle, a box of 
matches, and a pistol within reach of my hand, 
I went to sleep, never waking until .late in the 
morning, having heard nothing more of my 

The next day the steward informed me that 
our stores had been taken possession of by the 
Federal authorities, so we could not dmw the 
necessary' rations. The surgeons had all left ; 
therefore I prepared for a visit to headquar- 
ters, by donning my full-dress toilette : boots of 
untanned leather, tied with thongs* ; a Georgia 
woven homespun dress in black and white 
blocks — the white, cotton yarn, the black, an 
old silk, washed, scraped with broken glass into 
pulp, and then carded and spun (it was an ele- 
gant thing) ; white cuffs and collar of bleached 
homespun, and a hat plaited of the rye straw 
picked from the field back of us, dyed black 
with walnut juice, a shoe-string for ribbon to 
encircle it ; and knitted worsted gloves of three 
shades of green — the darkest bottle shade being 
around the wrist, while the color tapered to the 

Casus belli, 185 

loveliest blossom of the pea at the finger-tips. 
The style of the make was Confederate. 

Thus splendidly equipped I walked to Dr. 
M.'s oflBice, now Federal headquarters, and 
making my way through a crowd of blue coats, 
accosted the principal figure seated there, with 
a stem and warlike demand for food, and a curt 
inquiry whether it was their intention to starve 
their captured sick. He was very polite, laid 
the blame on the obstructions in the river, 
which prevented their transports getting up. I 
requested that as such was the case I might be 
allowed to reclaim my ambulance, now under 
their lock and key, in order to take some coffee 
then in my possession to the city and exchange 
it for animal food. It had been saved from 
rations formerly drawn, and donations given. 
He wished to know why it had not been turned 
over to the U. S. government, but did not press 
the point as I was not communicative, and gave 
me the necessary order for the vehicle. Then 
polite conversation commenced. 

'' Was I a native of Virginia ?" 

''No; I was a South Carolinian, who had 
gone to Virginia at the commencement of the 

1 86 TIte Law of Nations, 

war to try and aid in alleviating the sufferings 
and privations of the hospitals." 

" He had lost a brother in South Carolina." 

" It was the fate of war. Self-preservation 
was the first law of nature. As a soldier he 
must recognize defense of one's native soil." 

" He regretted the present state of scarcity, 
for he could see in the pale faces and pinched 
features of the Richmond women, how much 
they had suffered during the war." 

I retorted quickly this wound to both 
patriotism and vanity. 

He meant to be polite, but that he was 
unlucky was shown by my answer. 

" If my features were pinched, and my faxje 
pale, it was not caused by privations under the 
Confederacy, but the anguish consequent upon 
our failure." 

But his kindness had once again put my am- 
bulance under my control, and placing a bag of 
coffee and a demijohn of whiskey in it, I as- 
sumed the reins, having no driver, and went to 
market. The expedition was successful, as I 
returned shortly with a live calf, for which I 
had exchanged them, and which summoned 

Liberty or Death. 187 

every one within hearing by its bellowing. I 
had quite won the heart of the Vermonter who 
had been sentry at my door, and though patri- 
otic souls may not believe me, he paid me many 
compliments at the expense of the granite 
ladies of his State. The compliments were sin- 
cere, as he refused the drink of whiskey my 
gratitude offered him. 

My next visit was to the commissary depart- 
ment of my hospital in search of sugar. Two 
Federal guards were in charge, but they simply 
stared with astonishment as I put aside their 
bayonets and unlocked the door of the place 
with my pass-key, filled my basket, with an ex- 
planation to them that I could be arrested 
whenever wanted at my quarters. 

After this no one opposed my erratic move- 
ments, the new-comers ignoring me. No ex- 
planation was ever givesi to me, why I was 
allowed to come and go, nurse my men and 
feed them with all I could take or steal. All I 
ever gathered was from one of our errand-boys, 
who had fraternized with a Yankee sutler, who 
told him confidentially that the Federal sur- 
geon in charge thought that woman in black 

i88 At Last ! 

had better go home, and added on his own re- 
sponsibility, " He's awful afraid of her." 

Away I was compelled to go at last, for my 
sick were removed to another hospital, where I 
still attended to them. There congregated the 
ladies of the neighborhood, bringing what deli- 
cacies they could gather, and nursing indis- 
criminately any patient who needed care. This 
continued till all the sick were either conva- 
lescent or dead, and at last my vocation was 
gone, and not one invalid left to give me a pre- 
text for daily occupation. 

And now when the absorbing duties of the 
last years no longer demanded my whole 
thoughts and attention, the difficulties of my 
own position forced themselves upon my mind. 
Whatever food had been provided for the sick 
since the Federal occupation had served for 
my small needs, but when my duties ceased I 
found myself with a box full of Confederate 
money and a silver ten-cent piece ; perhaps a 
Confederate gage d) amitie ; which puzzled me 
how to expend. It was all I had for a support, 
so I bought a box of matches and five cocoa-nut 
cake? ^om of the purchase there is no 

The Mother of States, 1 89 

^^^^^■^■"■^-^--■^^^^^^■^^■■^^■■■^»"*i^^"™i«W»^^^^^»— — ■— ^^— — — ^— ^M^»^M^i^— ■^■^■■^■^^— ^—^■^W*^— i^i— — — ^i^M^^M^ 

need of defending. Should any one ever be in 
a strange country where the currency of which 
he is possessed is valueless, and ten cents be his 
only available funds, perhaps he may be able to 
judge of the difficulty of expending it with 

But of what importance was the fact that I 
was houseless, homeless and moneyless, in 
Richmond, the heart of Virginia ? Who^ ever 
wanted for aught that kind hearts, generous 
hands or noble hospitality could supply, that it 
was not there offered without even the shadow 
of a patronage that could have made it distaste- 
ful ? What women were ever so refined in feel- 
ing and so unaffected in manner; so wiUing to 
share all that wealth gives, and so little infected 
with the pride of purse that bestows that 
power? It was difficult to hide one's needs 
from them ; they found them out and minis- 
tered to them with their quiet simplicity and 
the innate nobility which gave to their gener- 
osity the coloring of a favor received ; not con- 

I laughed carelessly and openly at the dis- 
regard shown by myself for the future, when 

igo My Thanks 

every one who had remained in Richmond, 
apparently had laid aside stores for daily food, 
but they detected with qoick sympathy the 
hollowness of the mirth, and each day at every 
hour of breakfast, dinner and supper, would 
come to me a waiter, borne by the neat little 
Virginia maid (in her white apron), filled with 
ten times the quantity of food I could consume, 
packed carefully on. Sometimes boxes would 
be left at my door, with packages of tea, coflfee, 
sugar and ham, or chicken, and no clue given 
to the thoughtful and kind donor. 

Would that I could do more than thank the 
dear friends who made my life for four years so 
happy and contented ; who never made me feel 
by word or act, that my self-imposed occupation 
was otherwise than one which would ennoble 
any woman. If* ever any aid was given through 
my own exertions, or any labor rendered effec- 
tive by me for the good of the South — ^if any 
sick soldier ever benefited by my happy face 
or pleasant smiles at his bed-side, or death was 
ever soothed by gentle words of hope and ten- 
der care, such results were only owing to the 
cheerinp^ '^^-^^ — ^gement I received from them. 

And Gratitiide. 191 

They were gentlewomen in every sense of the 
word, and though they might not have remem- 
bered that ^'noblesse oblige ^'^ they felt and 
acted up to the motto in every act of their lives. 
My only wish was to live and die among them, 
growing each day better from contact with 
their gentle, kindly sympathies and heroic 

It may never be in my power to do more 
than offer my heartfelt thanks, which may 
reach their once happy homes ; and in closing 
these simple reminiscences of hospital experi- 
ence, let me beg them to believe that whatever 
kindness my limited powers have conferred on 
the noble soldiers of their State, has been repaid 
tenfold, leaving with me an eternal, but grate- 
ful obligation. 

There is one subject connected with hospi- 
tals on which a few words should be said — the 
distasteful one that a woman must lose a cer- 
tain amount of delicacy and reticence in filling 
any office in them. How can this be ? There is 
no unpleasant exposure under proper arrange- 
ments, and if even there be, the circumstances 



192 The End. 

which surround a wounded man, far from 
friends and home, suffering in a holy cause and 
dependent upon a woman for help, care and 
sympathy, hallow and clear the atmosphere in 
which she labors. That woman must indeed be 
hard and gross, who lets one material thought 
lessen her efficiency. In the midst of suffering 
and death, hoping with those almost beyond 
hope in this world ; praying by the bedside of 
the lonely and heart-stricken ; closing the eyes 
of boys hardly old enough to realize man' s sor- 
rows, much less suffer by man's fierce hate, a 
woman must soar beyond the conventional 
modesty considered correct under different cir- 

If the ordeal does not chasten and purify 
her nature, if the contemplation of suffering 
and endurance does not make her wiser and 
better, and if the daily fire through which she 
passes does not draw from her nature the sweet 
fragrance of benevolence, charity, and love, — 
then, indeed a hospital has been no fit place for 
her 1 


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